Trump administration to let states adopt Medicaid work requirements

January 12, 2018

Health Insurance

The Trump administration told U.S. states on Thursday they can for the first time move toward imposing work or job training requirements on people as a condition for obtaining health insurance under the Medicaid government program for the poor.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance making it easier for states to design and propose test programs that implement such requirements. States must propose such changes through waivers and receive federal approval.

Democrats and health advocacy groups blasted the policy and said it would make it more difficult for the most vulnerable Americans to have access to healthcare services. The Southern Poverty Law Center liberal advocacy group said it plans to file a legal challenge against the administration.

Medicaid, an important social safety net program created five decades ago and expanded under Republican President Donald Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, has never had such conditions attached.

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 care giving. Those states, mostly Republican led, include Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. Read more…