The federal government is requiring Medicaid recipients applying for or recertifying their eligibility to show proof of U.S. citizenship, raising the ire of mental health advocates who fear the new law may cause recipients who do not have ready access to certain documents to lose coverage.
Beginning July 1, states will be faced with implementing the new requirement contained in the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) that Medicare beneficiaries produce passports or birth certificates to document their citizenship. This requirement to show citizenship was part of a bill that President Bush signed into law in February.
The New York Times reported the provision's intent is to prevent undocumented immigrants from claiming to be citizens in order to receive benefits only provided to legal residents. Under federal law, undocumented immigrants can receive only emergency care through Medicaid, according to the paper.
Medicaid serves about 49 million low-income, elderly and disabled adults, pregnant women and children.
Advocates have expressed widespread concern that with the …