Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Sebelius: ID rules could cause Kansans to lose health coverage

November 30, 2006


— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday federal rules requiring Medicaid beneficiaries to provide documented proof of U.S. citizenship could result in needy Kansans unfairly losing health care coverage and the state paying millions of dollars in extra costs.

Sebelius said she hopes that when the new Congress starts in January it will change the rule.

"That is certainly one of the great concerns of what the requirements are now, and how realistic they are, and the possibility of disqualifying elderly, frail Kansans who may have dementia, who may not have family members," Sebelius said.

Under the new rules, each person applying for Medicaid benefits now must submit one primary document proving citizenship, such as a passport, or two secondary documents: one verifying citizenship, such as a birth certificate, and one verifying identity, such as a driver's license or school identification card.

The measure was touted by supporters as a way to prevent illegal immigrants from enrolling in the state-federal program that provides health care to the disabled and needy.

But consumer advocates said many vulnerable people who legitimately were eligible for assistance would lose coverage because they couldn't produce the necessary documentation.

"I mean, to come up with original birth certificates and original documentation is pretty difficult for some of these folks, and I think that is a very dangerous path to go down," Sebelius said.

In recent days, state health officials have said thousands of low-income Kansans, many of them children, have lost or been denied health care coverage because of the new rules.

In addition to the loss of benefits, the federal verification rule has been a bureaucratic nightmare, they said.

State health officials have requested nearly $1.2 million in additional funds to hire more staff to handle the work associated with the citizenship verification.

"It has just been overwhelming our system," said Andy Allison, deputy director of the Kansas Health Policy Authority.

"We have put in lots of hours of overtime, but we haven't been able to dig out from this avalanche," he said.

Sebelius said the proof-of-citizenship requirement was one of several federal mandates that were passed by Congress right before the election.

"There was no input from the states on how realistic these were, what the costs were," she said.


SteelHorseRider 11 years, 2 months ago

----"That is certainly one of the great concerns of what the requirements are now, and how realistic they are, and the possibility of disqualifying elderly, frail Kansans who may have dementia, who may not have family members," Sebelius said.---

I find it interesting there is seeming support for the requirement to show a photo ID when purchasing personal items with a personal credit card, but then our Governor doesn't support a requirement that an ID Card should be shown when receiving public funded benefits?

Isn't the State responsible for those without family members and who are suffereing from dementia???

Sigmund 11 years, 2 months ago

All 30 million illegal immigrants, oh I mean undocumented workers, are law abiding and hard working! They would never dream of getting free government services, place additional burdens on taxpayers, and reduce the money available to care for US citizens who are entitled them.

Seriously, what do you expect from a Governor who gives illegals in state tuition to Kansas colleges when we are having such trouble funding public schools? Apparently Kathy believes the Kansas taxpayers are just greedy, anti-education racists who have too much money anyway.

KS 11 years, 2 months ago

I have to show a photo ID to check into a hotel/motel! I have to show one to get on an airplane! I had to recently show one to gain access to a convention site, but if you want some public money, "come on down"! Signs of the future to come after January. Oh, this is going to be fun.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 2 months ago

She's not talking about illegal aliens at are.

She's talking about how the requirements are making it much more difficult for eligible citizens to get medicaid.

She's also talking about how the federal government mandated this, but didn't provide any money to implement it. So the state has to pay for all the extra paperwork and work hours that it requires.

Lighten up, people. Everyone out there isn't an illegal alien just waiting to use your precious tax dollars.

Do you want to go put on your foil hats now?

KS 11 years, 2 months ago

Go Sigmund! Isn't it funny how logic prevails?

Dani Davey 11 years, 2 months ago

Ok, I generally really like and agree with the Governor but this is silly. It is not difficult to get a certified copy of a birth certificate from the government and while I haven't read the federal requirements, I highly doubt that public assistance is going to be denied if you have a certified copy of a birth certificate and now THE original.

KS 11 years, 2 months ago

Duh! Silly is absolutely correct. The whole purpose was to get people off the program that should not be on the program. Someone wants to clean up a program and the libs are right behind them wanting to waste again. Can't wait until January.

gr 11 years, 2 months ago

I recall reading that California opened up it's schools and hospitals to illegal aliens as if there was no problem with them being in the US. So, if the government and the people who voted don't really care and in fact, supports them, why should I care if they are here?

asafel 11 years, 2 months ago

I've worked with social workers to obtain Medicaid benefits and I understand the problem. The federal mandate was well-meaning but impractical, because many of the legitimate clients on Medicaid DON'T have the resources you and I take for granted. Safe to say, if you have ever been on Medicaid or had to obtain Medicaid coverage for a loved one, you understand Sebelius' concern. I'm not advocating Medicaid for illegal immigrants, but look at it this way: When you put up a security system for your home, it costs money. When you buy OnStar for your vehicle, it costs money. When you want to safeguard federal services to keep them from being misused, that costs money, too. The problem is that this is all happening at the cost of Kansas taxpayers, and it's being done in an inefficient way. Kathleen Sebelius doesn't want to raise taxes, so she wants to phase in these changes in a more efficient manner.

gr 11 years, 2 months ago

"When you want to safeguard federal services to keep them from being misused, that costs money, too. "

I know! If this works like any other type of "government programs", charge the medicaid applicant for doing the check, which may prevent them from getting the service.

tot 11 years, 2 months ago

Once again our governor is trying to give a break to "undocumented workers." What a load... I think she needs to remember who was able to vote for her this last election.

Porter 11 years, 2 months ago

By that logic, we should close down the highways so that the illegals can't use 'em. Why not shut down the schools and hospitals while were at it?

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