January 20, 2018

Nation Medicaid work requirements approved for Kentucky

13 January 2018, 11:07 | Christie Tate

Illustration created using Getty Images

Illustration created using Getty Images

On Thursday, President Donald Trump's administration said states could impose work requirements for Medicaid benefits. This last part is controversial, as Medicaid has historically enrolled beneficiaries when they needed care.

Traditionally, Medicaid covered people not able to work - the elderly, children and the disabled.

CMS on Friday approved Kentucky's request to launch a 5-year demonstration project that will require able-bodied adults to work or volunteer to receive Medicaid, while paying premiums and providing documentation to avoid being cut off from the program. "We will do everything we can to get the word out as soon as we get the facts". Pregnant women will also be exempt.

For a federal entitlement, it was remarkably limited and targeted to discreet populations. In other words, Medicaid didn't originally cover nearly any able-bodied adults. Congressional Democrats continued to react to the Medicaid policy change Friday.

The CMS announcement was well-timed for New Hampshire, as the clock was ticking for those on the expanded Medicaid program known as the N.H. Health Protection Plan. That Medicaid expansion was sharply criticized by conservatives, and Republicans in Congress tried to add work requirements in their unsuccessful bid past year to overturn the health law.

The state will require able-bodied adults without dependents to do 80 hours a month of community engagement to qualify for coverage.

Verma said the Trump administration was responding to requests from Medicaid officials in 10 states that wanted to test requiring recipients to work or participate in training, education, job search, volunteer activities and caregiving. But other times he admits the real reason for the waiver: to force people he sees as freeloaders to work for something he thinks they don't deserve. In essence, some untold number of people will become less healthy and more financially vulnerable so that others who resent the "lazy" can feel even more superior to them.

Such incentives are powerful-and in the long run, harmful to welfare beneficiaries. The letter released Thursday by CMS authorizing work requirements contains similar language.

By contrast, progressives consider work requirements insulting and demeaning. "They just said there are considerations...." The commonwealth is one of ten states, including IN, that have requested approval from the federal government for such a provision.

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But nothing could be further from the truth-or the actual record of work requirements.

HEALTH will show America how an overhaul of Medicaid can work, Bevin said.

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.

Some states pushed back. More than six in 10 of these families include at least one adult who works full-time.

Plus, the proportion of pediatricians not accepting any Medicaid patients dropped 2 percentage points to less than 15 percent.

Proponents, health officials and advocates for the poor argued the program would improve Kentucky's miserable health rankings while representing a bargain because the federal government paid all of the costs of the expansion for the first three years and 90 percent of the costs thereafter.

Such results shouldn't shock. "They also are a very bad policy for making sure people get health care".

The Trump administration, along with many Republican leaders in Congress, has long supported such a move. If an individual already satisfies a work requirement in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP or "food stamps") or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), then they will automatically satisfy the Medicaid requirement.

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