Ragged Edge Online Home

Legal Group Says Medicaid ID Rule Is Unconstitutional

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--Lawyers challenging a new rule that makes Medicaid recipients prove they are U.S. citizens have said they would ask a federal judge again to decide whether the law violates the Constitution.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Guzman ruled last week that, while groups impacted by the law might have legal standing to challenge it, attorneys with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law did not.

Reuters reported that the attorneys said they plan to appeal Guzman's decision, and ask him to specifically address the constitutionality of the law, which was designed to limit Medicaid benefits to U.S. citizens alone.

The center filed the suit in June on behalf of low-income citizens -- primarily people with disabilities, residents of nursing homes, and victims of natural disasters -- who might not be able to provide original birth certificates. The suit claimed that the law unfairly discriminates against these groups in violation of due process protections in the Fifth Amendment.

The federal government says as many as 35,000 people might be at risk of losing benefits in the joint state-federal medical insurance program.

In Colorado, nonprofit service providers said this week that they are tired of acting as "immigration cops" in order to enforce the new rule.

Still, state officials said they were surprised to learn that only 111 people had applied for a waiver to allow them to continue receiving benefits past the August 1 deadline without the required documents.

Critics said the low number reflects the ineffectiveness of the system rather than a lack of need.

Judge defers citizenship-Medicaid law challenge (Reuters)
Waiver flood only a trickle (Denver Post)

Copyright 2006 Inonit Publishing
Article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express international disability rights news service. Please do not reprint, republish or forward without permission.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2
Email this page to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):