Ah, another example of the ironic promise, "We're the government, and we're here to help."
It was revealed last week that a new federal policy designed to keep illegal aliens from getting Medicaid benefits cost the state of Kansas $1 million, disrupted Medicaid benefits for 20,000 legal recipients and discovered one - yes, one - case of a person who was ineligible for Medicaid because of his citizenship status.
The new rules require everyone applying for Medicaid to provide proof of their citizenship. Many people had trouble obtaining verification documents from other states, and the increased time it took to process Medicaid applicants created an administrative nightmare. The state was forced to hire more employees to handle the paperwork, at a cost of about $1 million.
Even with the additional help, however, about 20,000 eligible Kansans lost their Medicaid benefits. Only about half of them have been re-enrolled.
Kansas Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt colorfully described the new regulations as being "akin to trying to push a wet noodle up a hill with your nose." It's hard to fully evaluate that metaphor without giving it a trial run, but it seems to aptly reflect the stupidity of the federal Medicaid mandate.
It's all too easy - and common - for federal lawmakers to order states to complete some task without fully considering the practical impact of the mandate. Although it makes sense to keep illegal immigrants from collecting Medicaid, at least in Kansas, the process for enforcing that standard clearly was more trouble than it was worth.