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Posted by on Oct 8, 2006 in At TMV | 54 comments

Medicaid, Not All Is Swell

The Washington Post reports:

Thousands of low-income children have been unable to enroll in Virginia’s Medicaid program since July 1 because of new, tougher federal rules requiring proof of citizenship and identity, state officials said.

Officials for the state program for the poor and disabled said as many as 10,000 eligible children are living without health care largely because their families have been unable to present original birth certificates and other needed documentation to state or local Medicaid officials.
The new federal rules, designed to curb fraud by illegal immigrants, require passports, birth certificates or other identifying documents to be shown when people apply for Medicaid benefits or during annual reenrollment in the program. Parents are also required to offer sworn affidavits as proof of a child’s identity.
“We’re talking about families that don’t have a lot of resources,” said Shelby Gonzales, director of Partnership for Healthier Kids, a Fairfax County program run by Inova Health System. She and other advocates said families are showing up at social services departments looking for medical coverage but never follow through because of the extra layer of bureaucracy. “There are just a lot of practical reasons why it’s been difficult,” she said.

Birth certificates? Doesn’t one automatically receive a birth certificate at the moment one reports to state officials that a child has been born?
Passports: sure some people are poor, but it’s not as if one needs a passport every other month or so. In the Netherlands once every five years. Combine that with the costs…

I am sorry, I might sound cold here, but is this a problem caused by the US government, or by people themselves? If I am missing something, inform me, but ‘giving up due to the bureaucracy’? Well, bureaucracy is something like a natural enemy to me, but blaming bureaucracy for not doing something that’s necessary for one’s (child’s) health…