New Medicaid Work Requirements 'Sinister,' Frame the Poor and Ill as 'Deadbeats'

New Medicaid Work Requirements 'Sinister,' Frame the Poor and Ill as 'Deadbeats'

The much-anticipated move - which was strongly condemned by patient advocates, physicians and consumer groups - would mark the first time in the program's half-century history that the government will require people to work in exchange for health coverage.

The new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services guidance, which allows states to seek federal permission to establish restrictions, could threaten the Medicaid coverage of the many adults with disabilities, children and the elderly who cannot work.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin and IN welcomed a letter issued Thursday by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announcing that the agency will support state efforts to test incentives that make participation IN work or other community engagement a requirement for continued Medicaid eligibility.

About 70 percent of Americans say they support states imposing a work requirement on non-disabled adults, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll previous year. The office plans to take a close look at how s waiver could align with the new federal guidelines.

Elderly and disabled recipients will be exempt from the new rule, as well as pregnant women.

"The governor believes that Medicaid is an important safety net for many Iowans, and her hope is that those on the program who are able-bodied are able to find a career and re-enter the workforce", spokeswoman Brenna Smith said in an email, pivoting to the governor's priority of job training.

Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature domestic policy achievement commonly known as Obamacare, 31 states expanded Medicaid to those making up to 138 percent of the poverty level as defined by the federal government, adding millions of people to the rolls. Federal officials say work requirements will improve the overall health of beneficiaries, leading to lowered costs for taxpayers.

The new plan sets the stage for a potentially long and contentious legal battle over the shape and goal of a health program that more than 70 million Americans now depend on.

But advocates said work requirements will become one more hoop for low-income people to jump through, and many could be denied needed coverage because of technicalities and challenging new paperwork.

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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.

Opponents of the move quickly decried the Trump administration's action, arguing that it represented a gutting of Medicaid and the administration's disregard for the poor (which was a big part of the pushback against the failed effort to replace Obamacare).

“This new guidance paves the way for states to demonstrate how their ideas will improve the health of Medicaid beneficiaries, as well as potentially improve their economic well-being, ” Brian Neale, CMS deputy administrator and director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, said in the press release.

The application clarifies some language about who would be exempt from the work requirements and the lifetime limits.

But according to Callow with Families USA, the new policy might not sustain court challenges. The state has one of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the country, and its Medicaid spending on prescriptions for opioid use disorders jumped 326 percent from 2011 to 2016, to $64 million.

The Trump administration said people who work are actually healthier. The federal memo instructed states to craft "reasonable modifications" allowing Medicaid enrollees who need addiction treatment to continue accessing services. The administration's bid to cut the program under the guise of mobility-enhancing work requirements must be seen for what it is. Also, some could find it hard to meet their state's work verification requirements.

There were almost 2.9 million Pennsylvanians enrolled in Medicaid in November, with 144,971 of those in the Lehigh Valley. If I were reliant on Medicaid in a state with a work requirement, I would have had to pay for years of testing and doctor appointments myself before I finding a doctor willing to sign off on a work exemption. Alker says that seems like a good thing, though the "cynic" in her worries it's created to keep the question of how many people will lose Medicaid "even more in the dark".

CMS also advised states to make work requirements for Medicaid similar than those used with food stamps to “reduce the burden on both states and beneficiaries.”.

Under the guidance, community engagement activities would include skills training, education, job searching, volunteering or caregiving.

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