Lawsuit filed over Medicaid documentation requirements

  1. I hope this doesn't turn into a thread debating the merits of providing health coverage to people who aren't here legally. Even though I do find that topic of interest and have participated in said threads, what I find so troublesome about this proposal is that in so many cases people who are U.S. citizens are going to lose coverage because they're being asked to produce documents that they have no way of accessing.

    "Under the new law, American citizens are about to have their health coverage denied for unconstitutional reasons," said John Bouman of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. "The new law will cause enormous harm to people who can't produce the special documents, even though there is no doubt that they are American citizens."

    Among the named plaintiffs in the suit is Eddie Mae Binion, 72, of St. Louis, Missouri. Ms. Binion was given away as a small child and raised by a great grandmother in Mississippi. She has no living relatives, and no one knows where she was born. "I have several severe health problems--I am on dialysis, and I was just released from the hospital following several mini-strokes," Ms. Binion says in a sworn affidavit. "I do not have the energy or the time to search any more evidence showing that I was born in the United States."

    The people at greatest risk of losing Medicaid coverage due to their inability to present passports, birth certificates, or other special documents (qualifying legal aliens present different documents) are seniors in nursing homes, people with mental or physical disabilities, disaster victims, and people not born in hospitals (sometimes due to racial discrimination, especially in the South) who never had birth certificates.

    By at least one estimate, approximately 3 to 5 million low-income people are likely to be thrown out of Medicaid because of their inability to produce the required documents. An unknown number of people applying for Medicaid will have delays or not be able to get Medicaid at all because they cannot provide these documents. Due to their low-income status, these people are likely to join the growing ranks of the uninsured.
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