Feds Allow States to Impose Work Requirements on Medicaid Beneficiaries

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator during her Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Washington on Feb. 16 2017. MUST CREDIT Bloomberg

Feds Allow States to Impose Work Requirements on Medicaid Beneficiaries

The Trump administration said Thursday that it would get poor people to work by letting state governments deny them Medicaid if they don't have a job.

Berg said healthcare is a human right and to say you can't have it if you've only worked so many hours "is cruel, counterproductive and idiotic".

This nation created Medicaid to help these very people.

Mr. Pugel said numerous people on Medicaid in Kentucky work in restaurants, construction or retail.

But Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairwoman Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said the Senate has not discussed requiring those now enrolled in the program to work.

CMS also encourages states to consider a range of activities that could satisfy work and community engagement requirements.

Six percent were looking for work.

In his State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Phil Bryant of MS, a Republican, said he supported a "workforce requirement" for able-bodied adults on Medicaid. Any additional requirements will serve to make people who are now eligible for Medicaid ineligible.

"Carolina Cares enrollees would be required to be employed or engaged in activities to promote employment", the state's waiver request states.

The Obama administration stretched the guidelines for Medicaid coverage to allow millions of working adults to qualify for the program.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid says the policy will strengthen the program and give states more flexibility.

LePage released a statement praising the Trump administration for giving states the ability to add the requirements. Under our proposal, people who receive Medicaid and are able bodied will need to work, be training for a new career, or volunteer. Their argument will be that this finding is not sufficient to overcome Medicaid's statutory requirement that waivers produce better outcomes because it's proper health care that allows people to work better.

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Steve Wagner with the Universal Health Care Action Network says there are many reasons why Medicaid beneficiaries may be unemployed, but being unmotivated is not at the top of the list.

'There's never been a work requirement in Medicaid, it's only been in recent years that states have raised the possibility of having one, ' she said.

About 40 percent of nonelderly, non-disabled adults who have Medicaid coverage aren't working, according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Ironically, the first waiver request the Trump administration is likely to approve is from Kentucky, a state that has benefited enormously from Medicaid coverage for people facing opioid addiction. Its existing initiative to connect Medicaid recipients with employment services is voluntary and not enough people participate, the state's proposal said. These jobs ebb and flow with the seasons and economy, so it also might be hard for them to comply with reporting requirements under new rules.

The bill also would have required Medicaid enrollees to pay monthly premiums to remain enrolled in the managed medical assistance program, which involves enrolling in managed-care plans.

Democrats in Congress and liberal-leaning groups which have supported the Affordable Care Act were quick to criticize the concept of work requirements. Sen.

The work requirement does not affect pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled, and, of course, children.

Sometimes, amazingly, I know, politicians do things just because they are heartless, soulless bastards who deserve to be eaten by Denebian slime-devils and then vomited into the fires of Mount Doom.

Meeting work and community engagement requirements should take into consideration areas of high unemployment or caregiving for young children or elderly family members.

But CMS's Verma would have us believe that this new policy will actually improve people's health.

A survey Kaiser conducted past year said those who weren't working said it was because of an illness or disability, home or family responsibilities, pursuit of an education, retirement or inability to find a job. These are individuals who are physically capable of being actively engaged in their communities, whether it be through working, volunteering, going to school or obtaining job training. In 2016, a federal judge stopped the state from requiring people to work who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits because of a long-running federal lawsuit over the state's inability to process aid.

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