Trump administration policy will let states enforce work requirements for Medicaid
- Author: Leroy Wright Jan 14, 2018,
Jan 14, 2018, 11:06
Federal law does not require low-income people on government health care to work. "Those days are over".
According to the New York Times, 10 states have floated the idea of work requirements: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. "It will be interesting to see how states are going to make this work for people".
Some Medicaid recipients could find themselves forced to work in order to be eligible for health-care benefits thanks to a policy paper issued today (Jan. 11). The office plans to take a close look at how s waiver could align with the new federal guidelines.
While the Trump administration signaled willingness this week to allow work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries, the Florida Legislature is unlikely to move ahead with such a mandate this year. The memo cites studies indicating higher earnings are tied to longer lifespans, whereas unemployment is tied to higher mortality rates. She points out that one of the papers CMS links to even concluded that "interventions which simply force claimants off benefits are more likely to harm their health and well-being".
It found that almost half of them already work, and that 11 percent were unable to work.
Children, the elderly, those with disabilities and pregnant women would be excluded from the work requirement, which would apply only to able-bodied adults. However, they will not be allowed to use federal Medicaid funding to finance these services. Work requirements played a major role in driving that decline. Almost 60 percent work either full time or part time, mainly for employers that don't offer health insurance. During his successful 2014 campaign for governor he trumpeted that, during his time as a top state official in the 1990s, he "instituted mandatory work requirement for able-bodied heads of household whose youngest child was school-aged".
States will be required to offer reasonable modifications to individuals with disabilities and will be required to exempt individuals determined to be medically frail or who have an acute condition that a medical professional has determined will prevent them from complying with the requirements, CMS said.
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. The new work requirement reduces or removes this coverage, and life gets a whole lot worse. The CMS under President Obama would not consider these waiver types for approval, but new leadership has encouraged such an approach, which is now finalized.
Although the announcement says states must protect people who can't meet a work requirement because of illness or disability, don't hold your breath. Other requested changes include requiring Medicaid recipients to undergo drug screening and seek treatment if they test positive.
The new policy would be attempting to solve a problem that doesn't exist.
Most Medicaid beneficiaries who can work, do work.
Federal law states what an American has to do to qualify for Medicaid, he said.
But it's not clear how many people would be affected by the new rules. "There's a sense of pride that comes with having a job to do and being able to provide for your family".
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said, "Imposing a work requirement to be eligible for Medicaid not only fails to further the goal of providing healthcare, but also undermines the underlying objective".
"Work requirements are cruel and outdated and CMS is encouraging them on the false notion that low-income adults don't work unless forced to do so", said Kathy Waligora, director of the health reform initiative at EverThrive Illinois. Among its key components: a mandate that every resident get health insurance.
Opponents of the move quickly decried the Trump administration's action, arguing that it represented a gutting of Medicaid and the administration's disregard for the poor (which was a big part of the pushback against the failed effort to replace Obamacare).