Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Congress Creates More Confusion for Vulnerable

Just last week we learned that the big Medicare Prescription Drug plan has continued to cause problems for some of our country's elderly. Some have even lost coverage because of the various glitches in the program.

Now we find that Congress has caused even more problems for the nations most vulnerable. When Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 they included in the legislation new regulations requiring residents to prove their citizenship when applying or renewing eligibility for various social programs. The regulations go into effect on July 1 and require people to provide a passport, birth certificate or other documentation before taking part in programs. Some of the programs that could be affected are Medicaid, BadgerCare, and SeniorCare.

A story in the Racine Journal-Times reports that State Officials worry that as many as 850,000 Wisconsinites may find these new regulations burdensome. The story continues to report the following:
The state now will have to set up a system to verify citizenship and figure out when they reapply for the program.

"For SeniorCare, we are going to have to create an entirely new process," Helgerson said.

An estimated 40,000 people will need to reapply from July though September.

Potentially putting all of these vulnerable people in jeopardy and for what reason? Keeping illegal immigrants from enrolling in these programs? For the most part, they are already barred from enrolling in the programs. As the story also points out, there are not large amounts of illegal immigrants finding their way into these programs in the first place.

It seems that in their frenzy to attack illegal immigrants, the leadership in Congress continue to throw out reason and good sense. It appears that the majority of people that could lose services will be the very people for whom they were created.

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