Trump Administration Paves Way For Ohio's Medicaid Work Requirement

12 January, 2018, 03:23 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • Health Highlights: Jan. 11, 2018

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.

"While work requirements are meant to promote work among those not working, coverage for those who are working could be at risk if beneficiaries face administrative obstacles in verifying their work status or documenting an exemption", KFF said.

CMS has identified a number of issues for states to consider in the development of proposals to promote work and other community engagement among working-age, non-pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries not eligible for Medicaid on the basis of a disability.

The major policy shift seeks to overhaul the long-standing social contract between state and federal governments and poor citizens who rely on their services. Officials in several other states have said they are interested in the idea.

Republican state Sen. Bill Coley defended Ohio's work requirement, saying people who are able bodied and not students should get a job so they can support themselves.

She said the new policy came about at the request of 10 different states including Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Arizona, Indiana and Utah.

"Medicaid needs to be more flexible so that states can best address the needs of this population", she said in a statement.

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, speaks during a news conference in Newark, N.J. The Trump administration says it's offering a path for states that want to seek work requirements for Medicaid recipients.

But it's not clear how many people would be affected by the new rules.

This will be the first work requirement in Medicaid's 52-year history.

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Ten states, mostly conservative ones, have applied for waivers involving requirements for jobs or community involvement for most Medicaid recipients. Some Medicaid recipients say the coverage has enabled them to get healthy enough to return to work. Democratic 4th District Congressman David Price's Twitter account had blasted the Trump Administration shortly after Thursday's announcement: "If @realDonaldTrump succeeds in his assault on low-income Americans, we will be undoing the damage for generations".

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".

"Liberals find Medicaid work requirements repugnant because they believe that Medicaid beneficiaries want to work if they can, and that providing health coverage to people who cannot afford it is an obligation of any moral nation", Altman wrote.

Elderly and disabled recipients will be exempt from the new rule, as well as pregnant women.

Republicans have been pushing for the change since the Affordable Care Act added millions of so called "able-bodied" adults to Medicaid.

The Obama administration opposed state efforts to implement work requirements in Medicaid because it could result in fewer people having access to health insurance.

Adding work requirements for Medicaid may not drastically affect enrollment totals, since 78 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries are working, according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

Under the guidance, community engagement activities would include skills training, education, job search, volunteering or caregiving.

Verma also had a major role in designing an unorthodox approach to Medicaid in IN, which had asked the Obama administration to approve a work requirement.

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