The New Medicaid Citizenship Documentation Requirement: A Brief Overview, The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2006)

White Papers and Reports

This report examines the February 2006 provision of budget legislation requiring all Medicaid applicants and recipients who are U.S. citizens to provide a birth certificate or passport to become eligible for the program. While the provision was passed as an effort to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving Medicaid benefits, it is more likely to create unnecessary challenges to a significant number of low-income U.S. citizens. The report describes how the documentation requirement may pose a significant challenge to those who do not have a valid copy of their birth certificate readily available, such as low-income or homeless individuals, those who have experienced a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina, and the significant number of elderly African Americans who were never issued a birth certificate. Moreover, as the report describes, there is significant evidence that the requirement is unnecessary and will substantially increase administrative burdens.