Trump administration to allow states to add work requirements to Medicaid
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Trump administration to allow states to add work requirements to Medicaid

January 11, 2018

The Raw Data

Unspun and unbiased. These are the facts.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Thursday that it would allow individual states to require certain people to work in order to receive Medicaid. CMS sent a letter to state Medicaid directors saying that the new policy is designed to “assist states in their efforts to improve Medicaid enrollee health and well-being through incentivizing work and community engagement.”

Currently, Medicaid recipients are not required to work or be employed to receive benefits. In order to waive provisions of federal Medicaid programs, states must submit proposals for “experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects” and have them approved by CMS.

CMS said that it would support state demonstration projects that require at least 20 hours per week of work, “skills training, education, job search, volunteering or caregiving” for Medicaid recipients who were “able-bodied, working-age adults.” These requirements would not apply to elderly Medicaid recipients, children, pregnant women, or those whose benefits were due to a disability.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said 10 states have submitted demonstration project proposals: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. According to Politico, Mississippi has also submitted a proposal.

Some Democrats and advocacy groups have said they would sue to block any new work requirement plans that CMS approves, Politico reported.

Medicaid recipients

There are more than 70 million Medicaid recipients. Some states received federal waivers to test new ideas on how to administer the program.

A study by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation determined that about 60 percent of working-age Medicaid recipients are currently employed either full- or part-time. Some of the working recipients’ employers do not offer health insurance. According to the study, the majority who were not working said they were ill, caring for a family member, or attending a school.

The Medicaid program was started 52 years ago. In 2014, the Affordable Care Act allowed states to extend Medicaid coverage to people who lived up to 38 percent above the federal poverty line. Thirty-one states extended coverage in this way.

Sources: CMS, Fox News, Politico