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Kerry on Bush Administration Switch on Medicaid Qualifications for Children

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Kerry on Bush Administration Switch on Medicaid Qualifications for Children

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) today welcomed the Bush Administration's decision to modify a Medicaid regulation that discriminated against children born in the US to mothers who are not American citizens.

"I'm glad the Administration came around to fix a problem of its own creation. Now we need the Administration to reverse their other unfair Medicaid restrictions as well, which resulted from the flawed, regressive 2005 budget. I'm particularly concerned with the excessive federal requirements facing legal citizen families who are applying for, or renewing, their Medicaid coverage. It's insensitive to make our most vulnerable jump through superficial hoops and fill out piles of unnecessary paperwork, so the White House can play a political shell game with America's low-income families."

Under rules put into place by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in July 2006, these legal citizen children were denied the same one-year eligibility provision given to newborns with American parents. The new rule means that all children born through emergency Medicaid services on US soil are automatically eligible for Medicaid services in their first year.

Kerry is an original co-sponsor with Senator Jeff Bingaman (D- N.M.) of Senate legislation S.909, which would make changes to the current law, protecting low-income US citizens from being inappropriately denied Medicaid coverage because of lack of citizenship documentation. The legislation would place citizenship verification standards under the jurisdiction of the states, allowing them to make the determination about when, and to what extent, documentation is required for their populations.

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