New Medicaid documentation requirements that were instituted recently, requiring recipients to provide proof of citizenship, haven’t had the desired effect, exactly. Medicaid rolls have gone down (which was presumably the point of these changes, from the point of view of those who want to cut federal aid programs) but it isn’t the undocumented population that is being kicked off. It’s citizens of the US, who are eligible for the benefits, who are suffering because of these new requirements, according to a Washington Post article today.
One thing that this research points to, is the fact that there probably weren’t that many undocumented immigrants accessing Medicaid benefits illegally or through falsified documents to begin with. This contradicts the picture that anti-immigration activists try to paint, of undocumented workers who come here and live off the system.
The article doesn’t address why these eligible individuals might be having problems–but we can infer that it may be caused by the difficulties in obtaining correct documentation for certain people, who don’t have their birth certificates, don’t have driver’s licenses or government issued IDs, or passports. All of this documentation requires money to obtain, as well as time away from work to deal with the bureacracy involved. For non-English speaking communities, the language barrier might also present an issue. For low-income people, particularly Latinas, even people with documents, these requirements are an unfair burden on their right to access benefits that are meant for them.