Illegal Immigrant fixation jeopardizes native born citizens access to health care


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 According to California Health Advocates:

Individuals seeking care through Medicaid beginning on July 1, 2006 will be required under federal law to show proof of U.S. citizenship — such as a birth certificate, passport or another form of identification. The new requirement will apply to all Medicaid applications submitted after July 1, 2006, as well as all applications to renew Medicaid coverage. (In most cases, Medicaid beneficiaries must renew their coverage every six months.) This means that in the first six to twelve months, states will have to check citizenship documents for more than 50 million beneficiaries.

This requirement was included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which President Bush signed into law earlier this year. The provision’s intent is to prevent undocumented immigrants from claiming to be citizens in order to receive benefits only provided to legal residents. Under federal law, undocumented immigrants can receive only emergency care through Medicaid. Many advocates and health care professionals are concerned that with the new citizenship requirements, millions of Medicaid beneficiaries will not be able to produce the needed documentation and will have difficulty receiving health services.

According to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the people most at risk for losing their Medicaid because of not having the required documents include the following:

Some 12 million African Americans, including 800,000 elderly African Americans.

These people will be subject to the new requirement between July 2006 and June 2007, and are at particular risk of having their Medicaid coverage delayed, denied, or canceled because many elderly African Americans have no birth certificate.

Many were born in a time when racial discrimination in hospital admissions prevented mothers from giving birth at a hospital. As a result, their births often were not officially registered, and no birth certificates were given. (CBPP cites one study that estimates that about one in five African Americans born in the 1939-1940 period lack a birth certificate.)

Adults without a high-school diploma, adults living in rural areas (9 percent of both groups reported that they lack the required documents, according to CBPP survey), and senior citizens aged 65 or older (7 percent of whom reported in a CBPP survey that they lack the required documents); People who have a sudden medical emergency and need Medicaid coverage immediately but cannot get their documents quickly; People who are homeless, mentally ill, or suffering from dementia or a disease like Alzheimer’s; People who are in nursing homes or are severely disabled and would have difficulty getting access to their birth certificate; and People whose personal documents have been destroyed by disasters such as fires, hurricanes or earthquakes.

Besides putting millions of Medicaid beneficiaries in jeopardy of loosing their coverage, this new requirement also puts up another barrier for people newly applying for Medicaid. Obtaining these documents, for those who do not have them, can take substantial time and costs money.

When Grandmama is denied Medicaid benefits, or thrown out of her nursing home, or stuck with an astronomical Hospital bill she can’t possibly pay, perhaps then we’ll see the insanity and the racism behind this so-called illegal immigrant fixation.  The same racism that brought us here in chains is the same racism that forces folks to immigrate to this country because the global economic system makes it impossible to stay at home and feed their children. 

I fail to understand why smart black people can’t see the racism that plays out in the global economy.   I fail to understand why smart black people can’t see the subterfuge playing out here. This “documentation” scheme is nothing more than a backdoor, draconian and racist plan to deny medicaid benefits to legal U.S. Citizens whose citizenship has never been questioned.

My grandmamas are all in their 70’s now and I will be damned if they or anybody else in my family is gonna be looking for some stupid-damn birth certificate to get the medical care they need.  My father’s Mama is 74 and she still works.  My mother’s Mama is 78 and a retired nurse for the VA.  If I have to go hunting for a fu#*in’ birth certificate for a retired federal government employee-somebody’s gonna hafta die.


15 thoughts on “Illegal Immigrant fixation jeopardizes native born citizens access to health care

  1. LLR

    This is one of those things where I can see both sides.

    I can understand that lots of blacks don’t have birth certificates or access to them. I also see where there is a need to cut down on illegal immigrants taking services that are reserved for citizens.

    I do hope that there are some options for people that don’t have a birth certificate. I am hoping that they can provide some alternative documents that show that they are in citizens.

    To be honest I don’t see this as legislation to strip older blacks of benefits but rather as legislation to make sure that illegal immigrants aren’t getting benefits that citizens are eligible for.

  2. Darrylm

    Darrylm Comment Deleted.

    I suggest that you not insult the matriarch of my family again. -Skeptical Brotha

  3. dblhelix

    SB —

    It’s going to get worse. As I mentioned in the previous post, the REAL-ID act, which was passed w/o discussion by attaching to an Iraq appropriations bill, will require all kinds of paperwork as well. It requires states to verify federal immigration docs and birth certificates before issuing a driver’s license.

    Tell yo gran-mamm y to get her s.h.i.t. together

    You have no shame.

  4. Oh my goodness. This might save the governemnt money but its going to hurt citizens who just don’t have papers. They had better allow some other form of ID!

  5. SB:
    I see your point… I really do… It was kind of hard at first, but I began to understand where you’re coming from. I do recognize how that type of legislation can effect African Americans that need benefits.

    But here’s my problem… I am a legal citizen of the United States. I have no criminal background. I have no babies I can’t afford to take care of. My only “sin” is that I am disabled due to blindness. That disability has made it extremely difficult for me to acquire gainful employment, dispite the fact aht I have a BA and will have a MA in a couple of months.

    I apply for benefits, but strangely enough, I am turned down and/or offered extremely limitted benefits. I guess the government thinks that a $774 disability check is enough for someone to live on. The fact is, I, along with my great/grand/parents, have paid taxes into this country. But for whatever reason, I can’t get the help I need here in the US. It infuriates me when I see undocumented people getting services that I can’t even get.

    But I don’t discriminate. I get mad as hell when I see sisters that have 3 or 4 children living in a house, thanks to Section-8, that’s better than the house that me and my mama are struggling to pay for. I get mad when my cousin, who refuses to work, is able to get $603 in food stamps to feed herself and her 4 children, while I only get $19. I get mad when the waiting list for Section-8 is 5 years, because so many folks are just sitting on the welfare system, squeezing every drop out of it, rather than helping themselves.

    Yes, I know that everyone on welfare is not sorry. So nobody better not accuse me of that. Remember, I’m on the system too. And I’m definitely not sorry or lazy. I’m working my rear off, trying to make dang sure that I don’t have to expect nothing from the government. But until that day comes, I still need help. Unfortunately, I can’t get the help I need because the Medicaid, Section-8, and food stamp systems are overloaded with folks that are physically capable of getting off their butts and changing their future. Oh yeah, I can’t speak for any where else. But here in Texas undocumented/illegal immigrants are also overloading the system.

    Forgive me for my morning rant. I guess I can get off my soapbox now. Plus, I have a paper I need to write.

    God bless…

  6. bradenspeaks,

    Conseratives like to claim that they want to help the “deserving poor” people who through no fault of their own cannot or have great difficulting in obtaining work, the truth of the matter is that they really don’t want to help anybody. Blaming your difficulty in obtaining benefits on others obtaining benefits is really not the answer. Blame the system and the system only.

  7. SB:

    I do blame the system and the people that create the policies for the system. When I say I get mad, I don’t get mad at the people that are benefitting from the broken system. I’m mad that the system seems to reward foolishness.

    And maybe at the end of the day, I’m just frustrated that someone as capable as I am is having so much difficulty finding employment. Trust me, I don’t want to have to blame nobody about the benefits that I am or am not getting. And I’m really not blaming other recipients. I do blame the system. I also blame the system of discrimination in this country that systematically discriminates against people who are disabled.

    Still on my soapbox,


  8. Skeptical Brotha, bro, we usually see I eye-to-eye on all issues, but this (illegal) immigration issue is a unique one.

    I understand your concern – considerably – I really do. Considering the history of wickedness perpetrated against minority and poor people – I feel your position.

    However, every policy enacted by Washington lawmakers is not a subterfuge to rebuff African-Americans or other minorities. While I understand the concerns, I think their needs to be a system of checks and balances.

    I personally see this article as a red herring i.e. a lure. The poverty pimps are at it again (God, I sound like a Republican, I know). But a surefire way to add urgency to an issue – such as requiring proper identification for Medicaid applicants – is to mislead African-Americans into believing they will be adversely affected by such a requirement. These people use African-Americans/blacks over and over again to cry foul against the government, while everyone else sits back and benefits – yet the face of welfare becomes us (blacks) always. I am not buying this ploy.

    It is illogical to me that legal American citizens will be denied benefits they qualify for because they lack a birth certificate. I consult with a woman (a sistah) I know who actually works for Medicaid in Texas. She told me that the “citizenship requirment” is necessary because there has been so much fraud. She sent me a link. There are many ways and people will be able to address their citizenship and identity.

    Your grandparents should not have a problem proving their citizenship or identity – especially if they are already in the Social Security system.

    Last bro, illegal immigrants, except for children, come here on their own free will. They are accomplices in their own exploitation – if they are being exploited. Many illegal immigrants come here and live high on the hog. Although many are, many are not trying to escape poverty and political strife.

    To compare today’s illegal immigrants to enslaved Africans, many who fought valiantly to stay in Africa, is interesting. Illegal immigrants come here on their own free will, and contrary to popular belief, many from south of the border come and go almost as they please. I know this first hand. African captives never had that option. Illegal immigrants will never have to buy (or labor for) their freedom.

    When illegal immigrants come here and stay here, it is a voluntary decision. While America should continue to let other “tired, hungry and poor” people into the country – there’s still a process by which it should be done.

    As much as some people want us to, we cannot take in all of the world’s “tired, hungry and poor”. It has to be some order. There should not be 12-million illegal immigrants (regardless of where they come from) in this country. America is the only country in the world with this many undocumented people.

  9. T,

    Thanks brotha for your thoughtful comments. However, I would note that the link I included refers to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. They are not a left wing fly by night organization. It’s a think tank that churns out commonsense policy from a mainstream liberal point of view. This organization ain’t into scaring folk as a fundraising tactic.

  10. SB, thanks for your clarification. You said,

    “It’s a think tank that churns out commonsense policy from a mainstream liberal point of view.”

    That says a lot. I am a moderate liberal. I don’t always believe all liberal policies and viewpoints are viable for black people, just Iike I believe not all conservative policies and viewpoints are viable for black people. I think we (blacks) have a tendency to be used by both. That said, I believe these liberal think tanks can be abusive too. All one has to do is read the “citizenship requirements” by Medicaid to realize that this policy is not going to reject legitimate citizens who qualify.

    Can you clarify the last sentence of your last response?

  11. T,

    Some-suedo public policy groups which are nothing more than fundraising list organizations that exist only to raise enough money to cover their overhead, specialize in the scare mail business so they can stay in bidness. This ain’t one of those.

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