March 12, 2007

Beware of the law of unintended consequences

Oh were they unintended? This sort of crap makes me crazy.

A new federal rule intended to keep illegal immigrants from receiving Medicaid has instead shut out tens of thousands of United States citizens who have had difficulty complying with requirements to show birth certificates and other documents proving their citizenship, state officials say.

. . .

Under a 2006 federal law, the Deficit Reduction Act, most people who say they are United States citizens and want Medicaid must provide “satisfactory documentary evidence of citizenship,” which could include a passport or the combination of a birth certificate and a driver’s license.

. . .

“Congress wanted to crack down on illegal immigrants who got Medicaid benefits by pretending to be U.S. citizens,” Mr. Jones said. “But the law is hurting U.S. citizens, throwing up roadblocks to people who need care, at a time when we in Wisconsin are trying to increase access to health care.”
But this isn't about stopping illegals, it's about starving the beast.

The principal authors of the 2006 law were Representatives Charlie Norwood and Nathan Deal, both Georgia Republicans. Mr. Norwood died last month.

Chris Riley, the chief of staff for Mr. Deal, said the new requirement did encounter “some bumps in the road” last year. But, he said, Mr. Deal believes that the requirement “has saved taxpayers money.” The congressman “will vigorously fight repeal of that provision” and will, in fact, try to extend it to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Mr. Riley said. He added that the rule could be applied flexibly so it did not cause hardship for citizens.
See, this really wasn't about stopping them dirty Mexicans (though that was an added bonus to placate their immigrant-phobic constituents), it was about "saving money." Isn't it great to get votes on the back of the poor? And, what the hell does he mean, the "rule could be applied flexibly?" It's either the rule or it isn't. If you can be selective in its application, then it really isn't a rule is it?

How do you determine when to apply the law? Is it for the person that makes the most noise? What happens to the person who has neither the time, the money, or the knowledge to fight for what is rightfully theirs? They walk away. Read the whole article and find out about the real people that laws like this affect.
In Florida, the number of children on Medicaid declined by 63,000, to 1.2 million, from July 2006 to January of this year.

. . .

Since Ohio began enforcing the document requirement in September, the number of children and parents on Medicaid has declined by 39,000

. . .

Medicaid officials across the country report that some pregnant women are going without prenatal care and some parents are postponing checkups for their children while they hunt down birth certificates and other documents.

. . .

Dr. Martin C. Michaels, a pediatrician in Dalton, Ga., who has been monitoring effects of the federal rule, said: “Georgia now has 100,000 newly uninsured U.S. citizen children of low-income families. Many of these children have missed immunizations and preventive health visits. And they have been admitted to hospitals and intensive care units for conditions that normally would have been treated in a doctor’s office.”

. . .

Since the new rule took effect in July, enrollment in Kansas has declined by 20,000 people, to 245,000, and three-fourths of the people dropped from the rolls were children.

. . .

In Virginia, health insurance for children has been a top priority for state officials, and the number of children on Medicaid increased steadily for several years. But since July, the number has declined by 13,300, to 373,800, according to Cindi B. Jones, chief deputy director of the Virginia Medicaid program.
This is "family values?"

1 comment:

Not Your Mama said...

No, this is criminal negligence.