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Report: Oregon Kids Hurt Under New Citizenship Rules for Medicaid

May 16, 2007


New Medicaid rules aimed at keeping undocumented immigrants from accessing programs are backfiring and hurting Oregon citizens, according to new analysis from the Oregon Department of Human Services. It shows in the first six months, the new rules requiring proof of citizenship for all Medicaid-funded programs have prevented over a thousand Oregonians from getting health care, two-thirds of them children. Janet Bauer with the Oregon Center for Public Policy says it's a complex and difficult process.

"Those who were born in this country and are Medicaid eligible are having, ironically, the most difficulty complying with the rules regarding citizenship documentation and identity. Some of them just give up."

The report also shows the state has invested substantial state resources to implement the rules. Bauer wants Congress to address the problem when it reauthorizes the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) this year.

She believes the rules aren't achieving their goals in Oregon.

"Unfortunately, Oregonians are suffering as a result of these Medicaid rules."
The DHS report is online at www.oregon.gov/DHS/citizenship/report0705.pdf.

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OR