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Court rules Medicaid plaintiffs lack standing to dispute citizenship proofs

[JURIST] A US District Court judge in Chicago has held that plaintiffs in a class action suit lack standing to challenge a new federal law requiring Medicaid recipients [legislation backgrounder] to present passports, birth certificates or other proof of citizenship at the risk of losing benefits. Plaintiffs have announced that they will appeal the preliminary ruling by Judge Ronald Guzman of the Northern District of Illinois [official website]. The law, which is part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, would allegedly hurt nursing home residents, the disabled and victims of natural disasters. A July ruling [JURIST report] by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has nonetheless already exempted most previous applicants who are elderly or disabled from having to show proof of citizenship. Guzman indicated in his ruling earlier this week that the issue of whether adopted and foster children have standing to challenge the law will be resolved later.

Filed in June, the lawsuit [JURIST report] contends the the law violates plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment due process rights. It is sponsored by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law [press release] and Families USA [advocacy website], who claim that millions of citizens could lose their Medicaid coverage under the measure. Reuters has more.

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