The Spectacle Blog

The Smallest Violin

By on 7.7.06 | 3:40PM

Regina Owens of the Washington Citizen Action group complains about the new ID requirements for signing up for free health insurance, aka Medicaid:

Starting this month, when you apply for Medicaid, take your passport along with you. Thanks to federal legislation passed in February, if you need health insurance, you're going to have to work hard to prove you're a citizen.

This represents a big change and a big burden. A passport costs almost $100, not a small amount for anyone. As an alternative, you can buy a birth certificate ($28) and a state identification card ($20) -- and bring along proof of your limited income.

Boo hoo. The fact is that the taxpayers subsidize Medicaid, and it is reasonable to ask recipients to endure a few more minor inconveniences to ensure that our tax dollars are going only to people who are here legally.

Then there is this gem:

It's no leap to see that homeless people will be denied coverage and seniors will lose out on nursing home care. Victims of natural disasters, like those who survived Hurricane Katrina, will have to pack birth certificates if they hope to get treatment. Parents juggling multiple low-pay jobs will find it much harder to get the insurance they and their families need.
I'm sure the rules will be suspended during Katrina-like situations. As for homeless people, getting them off the street should be priority one, not worrying about their Medicaid benefits--i.e., let's get the horse before the cart. The feds relaxed the requirement for the elderly earlier today.

And this idea that there are lots of parents juggling multiple low-pay jobs is a myth. Looking at incomes statistics for individuals, more than half of those in the lower brackets worked less than fifty weeks a year (many didn't work at all). I think they can find the time to get some ID.

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