Kentucky Is the First State to Enact Medicaid Work Requirements
02:34, Jan 15, 2018
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They also could fulfill this requirement through volunteer work, job training, education, or caregiving.
While Bevin said that Kentucky's new program, called HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health) would improve Kentuckians' health outcomes, critics, including U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said it would kick tens of thousands of people off health insurance.
The new requirements apply only to "able-bodied" adults who get their health insurance through Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor.
Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the poor, which is administered by the states, was originally created to help the medically frail, children, pregnant women and the infirmed, Bevin said, and their access won't change under Kentucky's new program.
Cynthia Zwick is executive director of the Arizona Community Action Association, which works to end poverty. Instead, many states try to help the poor better their health by giving them health insurance.
In addition, people who are disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act but have Medicaid benefits for another reason could be exempted, or the state would be required to make "reasonable modifications" such as a reduced hourly requirement to ensure that the requirements don't disproportionately hurt people with disabilities. This marks the first time the federal government has allowed any kind of work requirement for Medicaid eligibility-and it's about time.
A spokeswoman for senator Susan Collins says she's concerned this change could put people struggling with addiction or caregiver responsibilities in bad positions. Another 37 percent are either pregnant women, elderly or disabled. It also states explicitly that states can't get federal Medicaid money for services like childcare and transportation that people might need to get back to work. Recently, the Washington Post " s Elizabeth Bruenig wrote: "For conservatives and thus-inclined Democrats, work requirements are about making sure that people who receive federal aid aren't lazy loafers living off the dole - "welfare queens' in Reaganite parlance".
Under the new requirements, eligible adults will be required to work 80 hours in order to qualify for benefits.
Although the first waiver has been approved, the road to work requirements could be longer than their supporters hope: Health policy experts anticipate that lawsuits will be filed quickly.
"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". He dismissed the agency's justification that unemployment makes people less healthy.
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. But Solomon says it's specifically prohibited under Medicaid law.
"What we saw in the CMS guidance yesterday addresses two very big issues", Medicaid Health Plans of America CEO Jeff Myers told FierceHealthcare in an interview Friday.
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