Trump Administration Paves Way For Ohio's Medicaid Work Requirement

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CMS has received project proposals from 10 states that include employment and community engagement initiatives - Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. A Kaiser foundation issue brief in November 2017 noted that removing such retroactive eligibilities hasn't been studied much, but that the reason Medicaid allows people to receive such benefits is to protect patients who suddenly become ill from financial ruin.

A study from the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly 60% of working-age adults on Medicaid are already employed.

Unlike the 1996 rewrite of welfare law, which explicitly mentions work as a goal, Medicaid's law contains no such element, and critics contend rules that could deny people coverage contradict its objectives.

Medicaid, the joint federal-state program that provides low-priced health care, is the largest federal health program with over 70 million participants and has an annual federal budget of over $400 billion.

LePage said work requirements under a different public assistance program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, have benefited Mainers, and he believes Medicaid would see similar results. Jane Hudson, executive director of the organization, said she is concerned about what would constitute a disability. Many of these recipients are individuals who are employed but whose jobs do not provide health insurance. The remaining 27 percent were not working, but two-thirds of them had a chronic mental or physical health condition, and one quarter of them said this condition interfered with their ability to function on a daily basis.

While some conservatives pressed her agency to quickly issue guidelines, lawyers within the Health and Human Services and Justice departments jockeyed for time to construct a legal justification that they hope can withstand court challenges.

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The policy change would mark the first time the publicly funded program, which has insured the health needs of the poor and disabled since its creation in the 1960s, has been allowed to require work for benefits.

"So I think you take those recommendations, embed it in, put it back on the Governor's desk and let him explain to taxpayers why people who are capable of working are not working", said Rep. Seth Grove, (R) - York County. "Health care should be a right, not a privilege". "A study examining Michigan's Medicaid expansion found that almost seven in 10 enrollees who were working said they performed better at work once they got Medicaid coverage". Pregnant women, children, the elderly and the disabled are exempted from the requirements.

CMS did not directly address Medicaid expansion, which has been adopted by 31 states and the District of Columbia. The broadening of Medicaid to low-income adults under Obamacare - roughly 11 million have gained coverage under the health reform law's Medicaid expansion provision - further spurred GOP efforts.

The Trump administration is paving the way for one of the biggest policy changes to USA health care in decades.

Democrats and health advocacy groups blasted the policy and said it would make it more hard for the most vulnerable Americans to have access to healthcare services.

"This policy move does not include a single penny to job training, does not add a penny to job placement, does not add a penny to job creation", Berg remarked.

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