Obama's 2015 budget would block illegal immigrants from Medicare


President Obama's 2015 budget, which was released Tuesday, contains steps that will prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining Medicare coverage, including explicitly requiring proof of citizenship as a condition of receiving Medicare coverage.

Although a law already exists prohibiting illegal immigrants from receiving federal benefits if they're "unlawfully present," many have obtained Medicare coverage because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services didn't update rules or policies to implement the law, the New York Times reported.

The new requirement comes from an Office of Inspector General report that determined Medicare spent $91.6 million in 2011 on illegal immigrants.

"It's part of a larger effort on programmatic quality, payment accuracy and program integrity," a senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal.

HHS said the proposal in Obama's budget, which would save at least $67 million over five years, involves illegal immigrants involuntarily disenrolling from Medicare and requiring Medicare Advantage plans denying or revoking coverage for people illegally living in the United States.

Meanwhile, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said she would work to recoup some of the money Medicare has paid out on behalf of illegal immigrants. Those steps include updating Medicare computers to deny claims for any illegal residents who are already enrolled in Medicare, the Times noted.

To learn more:
- read the New York Times article
- see the Wall Street Journal article