Under a new federal policy, children born in the United States to illegal immigrants with low incomes will no longer be automatically entitled to health insurance through Medicaid, Bush administration officials said Thursday.(Y'all want me to say something about the fact that this sentence manages to turn "U.S. citizens" into "children born in the United States," don't you?) Highlights:
Under the new policy, an application must be filed for the child, and the parents must provide documents to prove the child’s citizenship.Now, let me look at this little piece of legislation through the lens of my knowledge of medicaid. From what I remember, while in the hospital, a newborn used to be covered under Mom's medicaid (for undocumented moms, this would be emergency medicaid. Don't get me started on how we say "Fuck prenatal care! All we can begrudgingly offer you help with is labor."). Then, baby got her/his own coverage for the first year of life. You could apply to have coverage continued after that.
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 a birth certificate can take weeks in some states, doctors said. Moreover, they said, 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.
So now there will be no automatic extension of coverage until the child's citizenship is proved? And this only applies to certain parents? Words like "discrimination" and "desperation" are running through my head, but first, I have to ask one question.
Why do you have to prove citizenship of a child that is born in the U.S.? Can someone explain that to me? Did I miss the repeal of the 14th Amendment? Sarcasm aside, I really don't understand this.
Let me look at something else--acceptable proof comes in the form of the child's birth certificate. My child was born in early July. I got his birth certificate in late November/early December. Five months. Let's imagine a newborn going without care for five months. How do parents pay for:
The 2 weeks check-up where the PKU will be repeated?
The 4 weeks check-up?
The 2 months check-up at which the child needs DTP, Hib, OPV, HBV vaccinations? (Vaccinations at a doctor's office can be pricey!)
The 4 months check-up at which the child needs DTP, HIB, OPV vaccinations?
Oh, and perhaps you just get the birth certificate in your hands at five months. You still have to go file for coverage (assuming you are comfortable enough to go into a government office*, which, we all know, they're hoping you're not). In the interim, your child may also need her/his 6 months check up and vaccinations.
And what about:
If baby has jaundice?
If baby gets sick?
If baby doesn't adjust to formula or isn't receiving enough breast milk?
If baby develops thrush?
If baby cries a lot and you don't know why?
And all those other reasons we take our babies to the doctor in those early days.
Sometimes I wonder, when things like this come up, does anyone sit down and say, "You know, it's really not worth the health and well-being of our children to take this opportunity to bash immigrants once again."
And the irony of it is, once these parents, who can't get routine, preventative care, start taking their children to emergency rooms for overpriced care, this administration and its xenophobic base can start saying "Ah-hah! We told you they were a drain on local resources!"
I'm tired of the hypocrisy of conservatives. I want them to let me write their slogans. I'd come up with something snazzy like, "We love all life... right up until birth. And then we care about life if it belongs to an American. And typically, a white American. And truthfully, a wealthy, white American. And, specifically, a wealthy, white American born to married, heterosexual parents..."
But all those qualifiers get tiresome.
H/T to Feministe. Phantom Scribbler has more.
http://haloscan.com/tb/becceratoo/1995467952211285838 (Y'all know my trackback skills leave much to be desired... somehow, I'm thinking that link is not supposed to show up like that!)
*My son's paternal grandmother, who is a social service analyst in Louisiana, says that undocumented immigrants can apply for services for their children and that the analysts may not report their status to other agencies. However, she says that parents have to be constantly reassured of this and many of them simply decide they don't want the potentially damning paper trail.