Governor disapproves of new Medicaid rule

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Another governor has stepped forward to oppose a Medicaid law that requires applicants to show citizenship documentation.

In a recent letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) said that the law would result in "unnecessarily and unduly punishing those who need and merit access to affordable healthcare." Consequently, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services does not plan to deny Medicaid applicants who are otherwise eligible but don't have documentation in hand.

The new rules, which took effect last Saturday, require low-income or disabled Americans to show proof of identity and citizenship when applying for Medicaid benefits or re-enrolling in the program. At least two states – Iowa and California – said they are delaying implementation of the law.