Undocumented immigrants are generally barred from Medicaid, but can get coverage for treatment of emergency medical conditions, including labor and delivery. In the past, once a woman received emergency care under Medicaid for the birth of a baby, the child was deemed eligible for coverage as well, and states had to cover them for one year from the date of birth.
Under the new policy, an application must be filed for the child, and the parents must provide documents to prove the child's citizenship.
The documentation requirements took effect in July, but some states have been slow to enforce them, and many doctors are only now becoming aware of the effects on newborns.
Obtaining such documents can take weeks or months in some states, doctors said. Moreover, they added, illegal immigrant parents may be reluctant to go to a state welfare office to file applications because they fear contact with government agencies that could report their presence to immigration authorities.
The pediatric community came out hard against this change, because the delay in receiving documentations (and the likelihood that illegal immigrants parents may not want to waltz into a government agency) deprives babies of care at some of the most critical points in their development. But what's really twisted is that there is literally no conceivable purpose beyond this bill other than harassment of illegal immigrants. Specifically, since anyone who is born in America automatically has US citizenship under the 14th amendment, it is almost physically impossible for a child born in a US hospital to not be a citizen eligible for Medicaid, even if their parents are illegal. So any claims that this is necessary verification are disingenuous.
Anne Marie Murphy, the Medicaid director in Illinois, said: "The new policy will be a barrier to Medicaid enrollment for citizen children. If we pay medical claims for childbirth at a hospital in Illinois, we know that the child was born here and is eligible for our program, based on income. It would be physically impossible for the child not to be a citizen."
Even if that weren't true, I'd say that putting innocent born children at greatly increased risk of death to buff up one's anti-immigrant bona fides is just wrong. Bufe appears to be right: Pro-lifers are "Vitally concerned with the wellbeing of "babies" right up to the moment of their birth--at which time they become "welfare cases" and "future criminals" undeserving of such luxuries as housing, health care, adequate nutrition, and a decent education."
Via Steve Benen