Welfare and Childcare
New Medi-cal Documentation Requirement

Information and Resources
about the New Medicaid
Citizenship Documentation Requirements

As of July 1, 2006, a new federal law requires U.S. citizens who receive or apply for Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) to document their citizenship.  This new law is creating great confusion and fear in our communities.  Who must document citizenship?  What kinds of documents can be used to prove citizenship?  Are some citizens exempt from this rule?  Can immigrants still get Medicaid?

On a teleconference sponsored by the California Partnership on
July 18, 2006, Sonal Ambegaokar, the health policy attorney at National Immigration Law Center and Jen Flory, Skadden Fellow/Health Attorney at Western Center Law Poverty, helped us answer these questions and learn what kind of advocacy is needed to help our communities.

Included here are some resources to help you learn more about the new rules, advocacy efforts, and where to go for more help.

Information and Resources for the Implementation of the DRA Citizenship Verification Requirements

1. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (

The federal interim final regulations and other federal updates are posted here.

2. CA Department of Health Services (DHS) Medi-Cal Policy Division Eligibility Branch

The DHS Eligibility Branch should be contacted if there are problems with counties or providers (either directly or through one of the advocates listed below).  Tameron Mitchell is the chief of the branch, and Bill Walsh is the head of the relevant unit.

California Immigrant Welfare Collaborative

Fact Sheet at:

4. Health Consumer

The Health Consumer Alliance is a collaborative of legal services programs providing direct health consumer assistance in 13 counties and two statewide support centers providing statewide policy advocacy.  Check here for information on finding local HCCs, as well as consumer fact sheets.


5. National Health Law Program (NHeLP)

NHeLP will have a sample letter for comments to the federal regulations and has been posting regular updates on the citizenship verification requirement on its website. www.healthlaw.org

NHeLP Link to resources on citizenship verification:


For information about the lawsuit, go to: Sergeant Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (www.povertylaw.org ) or National Health Law Program (www.heathlaw.org)

See press release at: http://www.povertylaw.org/advocacy/featured.html

Good possible plaintiffs include:

  • Foster care or former foster care children
  • Disabled persons who have SSDI benefits and are not on Medicare yet
  • Disaster victims (e.g, Katrina evacuees)
  • Domestic violence victims
  • Other Medi-Cal eligible citizen who already know they do not have the documents needed.

If you have possible plaintiffs for the lawsuit, you can contact one of the attorneys on the lawsuit, Sarah Somers at the National Health Law Program.  Her contact info is:
Tel (919) 968-6771,  fax (919) 968-8855, email [email protected]

6. Families USA

Families USA will also likely have a sample letter for comments to the federal regulations and has been posting regular updates on the citizenship verification requirement on its website.

Families USA Alert on citizenship rule:

7. National Immigration Law Center (NILC)

National fact sheet, interim final regulations, other information at:


8.  Center on Budget Policies and Priorities

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - www.cbpp.org

Issue briefs on the citizenship verification provision:

California Budget Project


Issue Brief http://www.cbp.org/2006/0605_bb_citdocumentation.pdf

Sonal Ambegaokar,
National Immigration Law Center (213) 639-3900 x 114, [email protected]

Please contact Sonal with any questions or problems related to immigrantsí access to Medi-Cal.  Please also forward client stories that document the harm.

Jen Flory
, Western Center on Law & Poverty (213) 435-2634, [email protected]

Please contact Jen with questions or problems regarding access to Medi-Cal due to citizenship verification requirements or problems with providers or counties.  Please also forward client stories that document the harm.

© Copyright 2005 by California-Partnership.org