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Trump Allows States To Add Medicaid Work Requirement

Trump Allows States To Add Medicaid Work Requirement”

"By lessening dependence on government assistance and promoting individual self-sufficiency, Kentucky's efforts should also help to promote the fiscal sustainability of the program to better protect services for the Commonwealth's most vulnerable", Demetrios Kouzoukas, principal deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, wrote in his Kentucky approval letter. The new rules will take effect in July, Kentucky state officials said.

Medicaid is already expected to be a hot topic at the Statehouse this year, as the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, or Medicaid expansion, is set to be renewed.

But work requirements have strong public backing.

"People who participate in activities that increase their education and training are more likely to find sustainable employment, have higher earnings, a better quality of life, and, studies have shown, improved health outcomes", Verma said.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, told The News Service of Florida on Wednesday that the state's $26 billion Medicaid program is comprised mostly of children and seniors and that work requirements are more geared toward able-bodied adults who qualify for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.

"Should eligible Medicaid recipients be looking for work or be trying to work?"

In a major policy shift that could affect millions of low-income people, the Trump administration said Thursday it is offering a path for states that want to seek work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service.

Greg Moore, state director with Americans for Prosperity, points out that the state budget requires the state to enact work requirements for the Medicaid expansion population by April 30, or notify expansion recipients that the program will terminate on December 31. "Having the participation of a broad array of doctors including those in private practice is important so kids can get care when they need it and that they can have an ongoing relationship with a pediatrician".

Many Medicaid recipients are already employed. The reality is that many low-income jobs do not fit into the "9 to 5" box. By making it harder for people to have health insurance, "you're going to make it less likely for them to work", he said. The report notes that implementing the work requirements "can be error prone", resulting in some people being denied benefits they should get and others receiving benefits they're not really eligible for. Taking away people's health care or ability to get needed medications only reduces their ability to work. About 70 percent of Americans say they support states imposing a work requirement on non-disabled adults, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll a year ago.

And it's not just Ohio.

"We expect that fewer people will be able to stay enrolled in coverage due to all of the red tape and penalties they'll encounter", said Emily Beauregard, executive director for Kentucky Voices for Health, an advocacy group. Only once they are healthy will they be able to focus on employment.

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Despite their concerns about the change in Medicaid policy, critics of the plan acknowledge that it will touch only a fraction of the nation's total enrollment.

The document says who should be excluded from the new work requirements - including children and people being treated for opioid abuse - and offers suggestions as to what counts as "work".

Kentucky is one of 10 states that have applied to CMS to enact a work requirement.

Elizabeth Lower-Basch is the director of the income and work supports at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).



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