The CMS said Tuesday that all babies born in the U.S. whose deliveries are covered by Medicaid could remain on the federally subsidized program until their first birthday. The move, which will be finalized in a published rule in the coming weeks, effectively rolls back a more stringent requirement that would have made it more difficult for babies born to illegal immigrants to get coverage.
Typically, noncitizens are not eligible for Medicaid except in certain emergency cases, including labor and delivery, the CMS said. A July 2006 interim final rule issued by the CMS would have established that the infants of mothers who are on emergency Medicaid would not have the so-called deemed status that allows individual states to determine eligibility, but rather gives the federal government the decisionmaking power.
The new CMS rule states that any newborn whose mother files an application and is determined eligible for emergency Medicaid coverage for the delivery could be deemed eligible for the his or her first year of life.
We have heard the concerns raised and are taking action to ensure that newborns in similar circumstances are treated the same under Medicaid eligibility rules, CMS Acting Administrator Leslie Norwalk said in a written statement.
Rachel Klein, deputy director of health policy at Families USA, which had opposed the CMS rule, called the reversal great news, but added that while its a step in the right direction, other policies, such as the one that requires individuals to provide documentation of their citizenship status, should also be repealed. -- by Matthew DoBias