Medicaid: States Reported That Citizenship Documentation Requirement Resulted in Enrollment Declines for Eligible Citizens and Posed Administrative Burdens

GAO-07-889 Published: Jun 28, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 2007.
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The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) included a provision that requires states to obtain documentary evidence of U.S. citizenship or nationality when determining eligibility of Medicaid applicants and current beneficiaries; self-attestation of citizenship and nationality is no longer acceptable. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued regulations states must follow in obtaining this documentation. Interested parties have raised concerns that efforts to comply with the requirement will cause eligible citizens to lose access to Medicaid coverage and will be costly for states to implement. GAO was asked to examine how the requirement has affected individuals' access to Medicaid benefits and assess the administrative and fiscal effects of implementing the requirement. To do this work, GAO surveyed state Medicaid offices in the 50 states and the District of Columbia about their perspectives on access issues and the administrative and fiscal effects of the requirement. GAO obtained complete responses from 44 states representing 71 percent of national Medicaid enrollment in fiscal year 2004. GAO also reviewed federal laws, regulations, and CMS guidance.

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