June 13, 2006

Crapo: Taxpayers To See Relief On Immigrant Care

Medicaid applicants must show proof of citizenship beginning July 1

Washington, DC â??Idaho Senator Mike Crapo says a change in federal regulations could save thousands of Idaho taxpayer dollars that augment health care costs for undocumented workers. Crapo, a member of the Senate Finance Committee that has oversight over the Medicare and Medicaid programs, says new guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will go into effect July 1. State and local governments had pushed for the eligibility reforms.The changes essentially require proof of citizenship for those applying for Medicaid services. Emergency care would continue to be available. Crapo has sought solutions to counteract the costs of illegal alien incarceration and treatment and supported the Deficit Reduction Act which brings the changes in eligibility guidelines.Crapo says the guidelines mean that passports and certificates of naturalization or citizenship will now be the primary source for determining eligibility for claiming Medicaid-related services. Affidavits attesting to the applicantâ??s eligibility will be accepted only in rare circumstances, according to CMS officials. â??It is important to remember that legal immigrants and American citizens have always been eligible for benefits under the Medicaid program,â?? Crapo said. â??These new requirements are part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which passed the Congress to make sure taxpayers are not unfairly burdened when the eligibility of participants comes into question.â??Crapo stressed that programs like health care, food stamps, child care and nursing home care are still available to legal immigrants and resident aliens who show residency documentation, such as a green card. A full description of the changes in requirements is available through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare or by calling the Idaho Care Line at 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588.# # #