Trump to let states pursue work requirements for Medicaid

Trump administration allow work requirements in Medicaid 1112018

Trump Clears Path for States to Require Employment for Medicaid

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday confirmed it will accept state Medicaid waivers that include work requirements as a condition for eligibility.

Adults who are elderly or disabled, or who are pregnant will be exempted from having to work, volunteer or participate in job training, NPR reported.

About 20 percent of Americans rely on Medicaid, and the policy shift could have dramatic effects on them.

It also includes a specific section on individuals with substance use disorders, Brian Neale, director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, said on the conference call.

While more than 74 million people are enrolled in Medicaid, only a small fraction would be affected by the work requirement.

Ten states - Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin - have proposed adding requirements for work or community engagement, according to CMS. Advocates for low-income people say they expect Kentucky's waiver to be approved shortly.

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The Obama administration stretched the guidelines for Medicaid coverage to allow millions of working adults to qualify for the program. "The most vulnerable people are the ones who need Medicaid coverage the most, and they will lose it", Pavetti said.

Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, issued new guidance meant to help states design programs encouraging "able-bodied, working-age Medicaid beneficiaries" to participate in skills training, education, job search, volunteering or care giving.

"This action by the Trump administration goes after people who are just trying to get by", Democratic U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of OR said.

"There are a lot of different ideas, and a lot of ways to go about this", Verma said.

Under the rules, states can require Medicaid beneficiaries to work, volunteer or participate in job training.

CMS said the new policy seeks to help improve the economic situation of Medicaid recipients.

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States wouldn't be able to request work requirements for disabled people and children under the new guidance; however, a number of nonpartisan health care think tanks point out that many Americans who rely on Medicaid can not work because they are the primary care providers for much sicker family members or live with other socioeconomic realities that make finding work more hard.

Among adult Medicaid recipients between age 18 and 64, 60 percent already have jobs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation health policy research group.

"It is stupid because it will actually prevent people from working - with health needs unattended, many low-income people will be unable to seek work". It would not apply to those getting benefits due to a "disability, elderly beneficiaries, children, and pregnant women".

Echoing Bruenig in a tweet on Wednesday, Roosevelt Institute fellow Michael Linden concluded, "There is perhaps no better example of the moral rot at the core of the Republican Party than imposing so-called "work requirements" on sick Medicaid recipients just weeks after passing a massive tax cut for rich heirs who literally did no work at all to inherit their wealth".

Section 1115 of the Social Security Act gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services authority to approve experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects determined by the Secretary to be likely to assist in promoting the objectives of the Medicaid program.

"Work requirement provisions are thinly veiled efforts to reduce the number of people who receive affordable and quality healthcare through Medicaid", Harold Wimmer, national president and chief executive of the American Lung Association, said in a statement.

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