Trump admin unveils guidelines on Medicaid work rules

The Trump administration's move allows states to deny medicaid if an able-bodied adult doesn't have a job

In a move that's sure to ignite the fire and fury of radical leftists, the Trump administration is encouraging states to require "able-bodied" Medicaid recipients to work in exchange for health insurance.

Seema Verma, the agency's administrator, said the policy guidance came in response to requests from at least 10 states that had proposed requiring some Medicaid recipients to work or participate in activities such as skills training, education, job search, volunteering or caregiving.

But states traditionally can seek federal waivers to test new ideas for the program.

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.

Among those who do not work, 36 percent report they are ill or disabled, 30 percent report they are taking care of an ill family member or friend, 15 percent say they are in school and 9 percent say they are retired.

Millions who rely on Medicaid, America's biggest public health insurance program, could be required to have a job if they want to hold on to their coverage in the future.

Ten states - Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin - have already sought waivers. Health officials could approve the first waiver - probably for Kentucky - as soon as Friday, according to two people with knowledge of the process. Signed into law in 1965 as part of the Social Security Act, #Medicaid was born in the attempt to "provide health coverage for low-income people", as stated on the Medicaid website.

"Medicaid needs to be more flexible so that states can best address the needs of this population", Verma said in a statement announcing an initiative that could affect millions.

It now covers a broad cross-section of people, from many newborns to elderly nursing home residents, and increasingly working adults.




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

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in her letter that employment and higher earnings are associated with improved mental health and overall wellbeing.

The Governor's Office billed its willingness Thursday on expansion work requirements, a policy many other Democrats reject, as a pragmatic bid toward compromise. Some Medicaid recipients say the coverage has enabled them to get healthy enough to return to work.

"This is about helping people rise out of poverty", Verma said in press conference, according to NPR.

The conditions would exclude individuals eligible for Medicaid due to disability, elderly beneficiaries, children and pregnant women. Many Republicans opposed the enlargement of Medicaid eligibility authorized under Obamacare.

The historic move would be a significant change in how the government health insurance program operates and would fulfill a longtime Republican goal.

"Work requirement provisions are thinly veiled efforts to reduce the number of people who receive affordable and quality healthcare through Medicaid", Harold Wimmer, national president and chief executive of the American Lung Association, said in a statement. Verma and other Republicans said implementing work and community engagement requirements could help improve health outcomes by connecting people with jobs and training, Reuters reported. "If we had fewer sick people and fewer poor people, that'd lower the Medicaid rolls".

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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