The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it would allow states to require people who receive government-funded medical coverage through Medicaid to hold a job, volunteer or enroll in classes, the Washington Examiner reported.
The new guidelines allow states to require some Medicaid enrollees to participate in “community engagement,” which could also be fulfilled by caregiving for a disabled child or elderly adult.
“This is in response to proposals we are receiving from states. It is entirely optional for states,” administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, said in a phone call with reporters. “This is in no way a requirement.”
Paul Krugman, an Op-ed columnist for the New York Times, tweeted a New York Times article about the new provisions.
However, as the Executive Editor of Heartland Institute Justin Haskins points out in a tweet, Krugman’s assumptions are “incredibly irresponsible.”
“The new guidelines are for ABLE-BODIED Medicaid recipients, meaning those who are able to work,” Haskins wrote. “Not disabled people.”
Medicaid recipients would not be required to abide by any new stipulations “if they are elderly, disabled, children, or pregnant,” the Washington Examiner said.
States also are not allowed to start new programs until they are approved, through a waiver, by the CMS.
CMS deputy administrator and director for the Center of Medicaid and Chip Services, Brian Neale, said that states could also provide exemptions for medically frail populations and people who are undergoing treatment for addiction.
“States must exempt any individual with an acute medical condition validated by a medical professional that would prevent them from meeting the requirements,” he added. “This includes an individual with a substance abuse disorder.”
Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin have already submitted waivers to implement new requirements.
Many states are looking to implement new provisions in order to reduce costs. The Washington Examiner notes that many Republicans have bemoaned the fact that the only requirement for Medicaid coverage is income, and “able-bodied,” “working-age” adults are able to enroll.
According to Verma, the Trump administration thinks that Medicaid could help move people out of poverty and community engagement could help improve health outcomes.
A 2017 Kaiser Family Foundation poll showed that 70 percent of those polled were in favor of imposing work requirements.
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