Feds encourage work requirement in Medicaid for able-bodied adults

Image credit Kaiser Family Foundation

The federal government paved the way for the approval on Thursday, when it announced it would allow work requirements as a condition for Medicaid coverage.

"Kentucky HEALTH is a comprehensive, transformative plan empowering individuals to improve their health and well-being while ensuring Medicaid's long term financial sustainability", Glisson said. Reuters noted that decision to allow work requirements faces probable legal challenges. 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.

And, since the expansion of Medicaid under the, its benefits have been a key component in addressing the rise of substance abuse.

New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley welcomes the opening for work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults, and said it will be incorporated into the reform process. According to government statistics, 60 percent of non-disabled, working-age adults having a job, while almost 80 percent live with families that have at least one member in the labor force.

Verma, who has said she doesn't think Medicaid should become a way of life for people who are not disabled, said the new guidance shows how the administration is trying to give states more flexibility in running Medicaid.

Pan, a Democrat, said the proposal would create more bureaucracy and "feeds into a fiction" that Medicaid enrollees don't work - or don't want to work.

Kerri Wyland, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Scott, did not directly answer whether Scott would support work requirements or co-payments for the Medicaid program. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made the announcement Thursday. (Those figures also include some disabled enrollees). Many of those left either to go to school or take care of a relative or are too sick to work. Pregnant women and children will be exempt from that cost sharing. "We're confident that there will be people who qualify for exemptions who don't get them, and the end result is that more people are going to lose health care".

The state also eliminates its non-emergency transportation benefit for some adults in the program.

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"We expect that fewer people will be able to stay enrolled in coverage due to all of the red tape and penalties they'll encounter", said Emily Beauregard, executive director for Kentucky Voices for Health, an advocacy group.

The elderly, disabled, children and pregnant women would be excluded from the requirements.

"The thought that a program designed for our most vulnerable citizens should be used as a vehicle to serve working-age, able-bodied adults does not make sense", she said at the time.

Some Democratic-leaning states are not expected to make the change.

The Kentucky approval brings other major changes to the state's Medicaid program, which has doubled in enrollment to 1.2 million people since the state expanded eligibility in 2014 under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Will Humble is the director of the Arizona Public Health Association and former Director of the state Health Department. And the proportion of doctors taking at least as many Medicaid as privately insured patients climbed nearly 6 percentage points to about 56 percent. About 52 million of the 74 million Medicaid enrollees rely on managed-care companies for their coverage.

However some IL patient advocates say they hope the state doesn't submit a proposal to make having a job a condition of Medicaid eligibility, citing fears it would leave people without health insurance. This is a bit ironic because those welfare work requirements were loosened by President Obama, to the vocal dismay of his opponents.

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