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Medicaid recipients to get work requirements

Medicaid recipients to get work requirements

Former President Obama's federal healthcare law prevents states from imposing a work requirement on Medicaid eligibility, but the new policy guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid would allow states to apply for waivers to circumvent that restriction.

States should consider allowing a "range of activities" to satisfy Medicaid eligibility requirements-not just work.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said on Twitter that the new efforts will "improve Medicaid enrollee health outcomes by incentivizing community engagement".

"Medicaid's core mission is to provide comprehensive health coverage to low-income people so they can get needed health services", Hannah Katch a senior analyst at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, wrote in a blog post responding to the decision. Apparently, Medicaid officials in 10 states requested permission to run "demonstration projects" meant to put the onus on Medicaid recipients to prove that they were either employed or engaged in community service of some kind.

The agency's guidance provides states with a lot of flexibility in designing their programs and highlights that many recipients may need additional considerations.

According to Indiana's proposal, able-bodied people could receive Medicaid only if they worked at least 20 hours per week over eight months, were enrolled in full-time or part-time education, or participated in the state's job search or training services.

"For those who can not find work, requiring unpaid volunteer work in exchange for health coverage is unconscionable legally and morally, recalling the days of workhouses for the poor", Eliot Fishman, senior director of health policy of Families USA, a consumer advocacy group, said in a statement.

Republicans have long wanted to add work requirements for Medicaid recipients - which covers almost 75 million low-income children, adults and elderly and disabled Americans.

Pima County has an estimated 289,000 Medicaid recipients, almost one in four of its citizens.




Jezebel reported Thursday that 60 percent of Medicaid's non-elderly recipients already have jobs, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And another state may soon be added to that list, as South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Tuesday that he's asked the state's Department of Social Services to pursue a Medicaid work-requirement waiver.

And states are also required to make such accommodations for people with addiction to opioids and other substances.

Medicaid covers about half of the babies born in this country, she said. But Rosenbaum notes the absurdity of arguing that keeping people from health care will make them more likely to be able to work.

Work requirements also are opposed by the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, which advocates for more than 200 hospitals and almost 50 health systems in the state.

The new plan sets the stage for a potentially long and contentious legal battle over the shape and goal of a health program that more than 70 million Americans now depend on.

Homeless people, former foster children and American Indians are among individuals who would be exempt from Arizona's proposed Medicaid work requirements, the state's application says.

A poll past year from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that 70 percent of the public supported allowing states to require Medicaid recipients to work, even as most Americans opposed deep Medicaid cuts sought by congressional Republicans and the Trump administration.

"We are going to sweep in people who are working or trying to get work because they haven't filled out the necessary paperwork", Perkins said.

In a statement, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said work requirements "offer opportunities to lifting individuals out of poverty, empower them with the dignity of work and self-reliability while also allowing states to control the costs of their Medicaid programs".


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