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Maryland Supreme Court preserves Medicaid benefits to immigrants

[JURIST] The Maryland Court of Appeals [official website] unanimously upheld a preliminary injunction [opinion, PDF] this week barring the state from discontinuing Medicaid [official website; JURIST news archive] benefits to approximately 3,000 legal immigrant recipients, all of whom migrated to Maryland within the past five years. The ruling means that Medicaid benefits to those beneficiaries will be maintained while judges weigh the substantive question of whether termination of benefits violates the equal protection clause of the Maryland constitution [official website].

Benefits to immigrants have been controversial in Maryland since at least 2005, when Gov. Robert Ehrlich [official website] first sought to cut Medicaid coverage from low-income immigrant expectant women and children in an effort to reduce the state budget by $7 million. Immigrant advocates argue the cuts were cruel and discriminatory, and note that the cutbacks are part of a larger US trend to cut back or tightly control social benefits for immigrants [PDF], including those in the country legally. AP has more.

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