Trump Administration Clears Way To Require Work For Some Medicaid Enrollees

Trump Administration Clears Way To Require Work For Some Medicaid Enrollees

Trump Administration Clears Way To Require Work For Some Medicaid Enrollees

The Trump administration is encouraging states to require "able-bodied" Medicaid recipients to work or volunteer in order to keep their health insurance coverage.

For instance, the guidance notes that some Medicaid recipients may have trouble meeting these requirements because of poor health, substance abuse or high unemployment in their areas.

"He wants Medicaid recipients to be healthy and to be able to work, but he does not believe that working should be a condition for receiving federal assistance", spokesman Sawyer Hackett said in an email.

"This new guidance paves the way for states to demonstrate how their ideas will improve the health of Medicaid beneficiaries, as well as potentially improve their economic well-being", Brian Neale, CMS deputy administrator and director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, said in the press release. For the first time in history, President Trump has agreed to allow states to place work requirements on those who receive these government benefits. Those states, mostly Republican led, include Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.

The first waiver under the new guidance could come as soon as Friday, the Washington Post reported citing two people with knowledge of the process. Medicaid was expanded under former President Barack Obama, with an option allowing states to cover millions more low-income adults.

"The new [state programs] will penalize individuals by having them lose health coverage, rather than incentivize them, as a voluntary program with adequately funded supportive services necessary to overcome barriers, would", she said.

"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 work houses for the poor".

CMS additionally said the strategy would not make a difference to individuals with inabilities, the elderly, youngsters and pregnant ladies.

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The move is expected to impact millions of Americans who rely on the state-federal program to help get health coverage.

The move is a major shift in policy, but not a surprise for the Trump administration.

As of October 2017, almost 75m individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and the children's health insurance program (Chip).

Of the 9.8 million non-elderly Medicaid enrollees not working in 2016, 36 percent said sickness or inability was their principle objective behind not working, as indicated by the Kaiser Family Foundation. 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".

Medicaid doesn't now require recipients to have a job. People who are elderly or disabled, and pregnant women and children, would be excluded. That's because children - who make up almost half of Medicaid enrollees - are excluded. About 70 percent of Americans say they support states imposing a work requirement on non-disabled adults, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll previous year.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma touted the guidance, tweeting that "We owe beneficiaries more than a #Medicaid card; we owe them the opportunity and resources to connect with job skills, training and employment so they can rise out of poverty". "If we had fewer sick people and fewer poor people, that'd lower the Medicaid rolls".

The Obama administration would have never approved such waivers, she added.

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