Kentucky imposes Medicaid work requirements in unprecedented reform

Medicaid in Pennsylvania: the facts

A Medicaid Work Requirement Would Be Bad Policy Without The Opioid Crisis. It's Disastrous With It.

Bevin unveiled the demonstration waiver known as Kentucky HEALTH June 22, 2016.

"It will be a model for the nation", he said.

Expanding access to health care would help alleviate the opioid crisis and create 15,000 jobs in hospitals and clinics, the center said.

The changes are aimed at decreasing what the state will have to pay to run the program, which was expanded to cover many more people under the Affordable Care Act.

Bevin's proposal includes requiring numerous state's Medicaid enrollees to perform some kind of "community engagement" - work, volunteer service, job training or education.

The assumption behind the work requirement policy seems to be that people are purposefully not working so they can receive Medicaid.

The Trump administration's watershed decision Thursday to allow states to test a work requirement for adult Medicaid enrollees sparked widespread criticism from doctors, advocates for the poor, and minority and disability rights groups. In the past, federal officials said work was not among those objectives. Under the waiver, Kentucky Medicaid recipients will have to submit documentation proving that they comply with the Medicaid work rules.

"With this guidance from CMS, it will be essential for states and stakeholders in the states - including insurance providers - to understand the details of who will be impacted by work requirements, how these requirements will be defined and administered, and how people who are impacted will be directed to new pathways for coverage and care", said Kristine Grow, a spokeswoman for America's Health Insurance Plans, a national trade group. "They want to develop programs that will help them break the chains of poverty and live up to their fullest potential".

Verma, who worked with Kentucky and IN on their work requirement waivers as a health consultant before joining the Trump administration, recused herself from the decision on those states' waiver requests.

"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) approval is problematic for several reasons". The current request would require able-bodied adults without dependents to work at least 20 hours a week.

CDC: Flu is widespread but season may be peaking
Avoid close contact with sick people. "Be sure to wash your hands , particularly if you are sick yourself", Harris said. According to the Amarillo Public Health Department, there have been 3,303 cases in Randall and Potter counties alone.

Bevin said that requiring able-bodied recipients to work, to give something in return for the insurance they're receiving, gives them dignity, respect and an opportunity to escape from a "dead-end entitlement trap". The letter released Thursday by CMS contains similar language on the work requirements.

While more than 74 million people are enrolled in Medicaid, only a small fraction would be affected by the work requirement.

The Bevin administration has estimated the work requirements likely will affect about 200,000 of the adults added through the expansion.

The country's first work requirement, for state residents who have joined Medicaid under the ACA or traditional Medicaid beneficiaries who are not pregnant or primary caretakers, is part of a multitude of changes that CMS is allowing Kentucky to adopt.

They will continue to get vision and dental benefits, and either have to make a monthly payment - called a premium - or a payment at the time of a medical service.

Seema Verma, the administrator of CMS, has lauded the new guidance as a step forward for Medicaid and public health.

"People will just lose coverage", he said.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed Bevin's administration Friday of the approval on an 1115 waiver to tailor the federal program which provides health coverage for the poor, disabled and elderly to match Kentucky's population and circumstances. While the administration tried to argue the policy prompted more of them to work and caused their wages to grow, employment records show only 34 percent were working a year after losing food stamps, up from 28 percent a year before.

"They're going to try to force a square peg into a round hole", he said.

Medicaid's chief federal officer is Seema Verma; her home state of IN submitted plans for a work requirement past year, and the approval letter could come any day now.

Latest News