MOSCOW, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Russia's foreign minister said some of the diplomats accused of glomming on to the U.S. healthcare system were actually entitled to do so.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday that Medicare laws in some U.S. states indeed allow foreigners to enroll, and some of the maligned diplomats met the income requirements.
"First, the statement that they all did not have these rights because they were foreigners is not true," said Lavirov. "Secondly, the statement that the earnings received by these Russian diplomats did not put them in a category of people able to receive Medicaid is not completely true."
Federal prosecutors this month charged 49 Russian diplomats and their spouses with Medicaid fraud by allegedly making false claims that their children were U.S. citizens.
Lavirov said the ministry checked the salaries of the defendants and found that some of them were at least were eligible for Medicaid, which pays for healthcare for low-income Americans. "At a minimum, a few of them at least, at the time they sought this assistance, were on salaries that allowed them to request such help from the American fund," he said.