Kentucky becomes 1st state approved for Medicaid work requirements

Posted January 14, 2018

Requiring recipients to work would be illegal because it is not consistent with Medicaid's objectives, said Leonardo Cuello, health policy director of the National Health Law Program.

"We want to see people thrive and be healthier", Hamby said.

The majority of enrollees in Medicaid are children, pregnant women and elderly nursing home residents. Today's announcement by CMS is a step toward taking the power out of Washington and sending it back to the state while also ensuring the long term fiscal sustainability of the Medicaid program.

The Trump administration on Wednesday sent a letter to state Medicaid directors announcing a policy to authorize work requirements for states with what are known as "Medicaid 1115 waivers".

However, the Obama administration did not approve any state waivers that would impose work mandates, saying it was not in keeping with the program's mission to provide access to medical services. Her agency spelled out safeguards that states should put in place to get federal approval for their waivers.

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States would have the flexibility to identify activities other than employment that promote health and wellness and could include community service, caregiving or job training.

Bevin said that requiring able-bodied recipients to work, to give something in return for the insurance they're receiving, gives them dignity, respect and an opportunity to escape from a "dead-end entitlement trap". The states are Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. Matt Bevin said at a press conference announcing the waiver approval that he expects his state to "become the model of the nation".

In Kentucky, which expanded Medicaid, Republican state Sen. The research shows that the impact of work requirements was actually very minimal and did not reduce poverty. If they do not complete the requirements, Medicaid eligibility will be suspended.

The waiver's prospects didn't look promising under the Democratic administration of Barack Obama but was viewed here as an nearly certainty once Republican Donald Trump was elected president.

In a statement for the Center for American Progress, Executive Vice President for External Affairs Winnie Stachelberg said, "Ripping away health care from people who have lost their jobs will not create a single job, raise anyone's wages, or help anyone who is struggling to find work". Ron Wyden of OR, the top Democrat on the Senate committee that oversees Medicaid.

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By contrast, progressives consider work requirements insulting and demeaning.

Savings from the new program, according to the Bevin administration, is expected with initial figures of an estimated $2 billion dollars (federal and state) over the waiver demonstration period, allowing these funds to be focused on those most in need and other critical areas.

"Among adults with Medicaid coverage, almost eight in 10 live in working families and a majority are working themselves", he said. Almost 60 percent work either full time or part time, mainly for employers that don't offer health insurance.

Pugel previously had told Insider that many people who will lose coverage have chronic illnesses that will go untreated until the severity of their conditions brings them to local emergency rooms, where they will receive expensive care that will be paid either by the hospitals through charity care - or by people with insurance who pay higher rates than they normally would. Medicaid recipients may be stereotyped as lazy do-nothings lighting their Pall Malls off their welfare checks, but almost 60 percent of able-bodied adults on Medicaid already have jobs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and who is to say the ones who don't have jobs aren't trying to get them?

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