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Chicago anti-poverty groups file class action civil rights suit to challenge new Medicaid law that would hurt nursing home patients

John Bouman, a lawyer at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law in Chicago, filed a class action lawsuit in Federal District Court in Chicago on Wednesday on behalf of low income citizens and anti- poverty groups alleging the new Medicaid citizenship requirements are unconstitutional.

The new law requires proof of citizenship in the form of a birth certificate or passport in order to be eligible to receive Medicaid benefits. The group alleges this leaves many citizens who are in nursing homes or have mental and physical disabilities, and victims of natural disasters most at risk for denial of coverage even if they are legitimate citizens of the United States.

The theory behind the suit is that the law unconstitutionally violates the Fifth Amendment’s due-process guarantee by arbitrarily requiring documents and imposing deadlines.

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