The CMS has released its final rule on Medicaid proof-of-citizenship requirements, expanding the types of documentation that can be used to establish citizenship and exempting certain groups from the requirements.
The less-stringent policy announced in March would be made official, extending Medicaid benefits for up to the first year of life to a newborn whose mother had been on Medicaid on the date of the birth, regardless of immigration status, the CMS said. The regulation is effective upon publication in the Federal Register, which is scheduled for July 13.
But critics of the rule said that it doesnt stop children from potentially being dropped from the program at a time when their well-being is most critical. Rachel Klein, deputy director for health policy at Families USA, said that after one years time, those same children will have to provide documentation of citizenship even though they had Medicaid protections for their first 12 months and were born in the U.S. We have had a lot of concerns all along on this provision, Klein said, adding that the final rule does nothing to alleviate those concerns.
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 required that as of July 1, 2006, all persons applying for Medicaid or who renew their eligibility would have to document their citizenship. While the citizenship requirement had always been part of the Medicaid rules, many states had adopted looser requirements.
Under the new rule, individuals would have to provide original documents. Klein said that Families USA would lobby for a legislative fix to the final rule that returns the decision over citizenship documentation back to the states. -- by Matthew DoBias