Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Louisiana governor considering work requirements in Medicaid

Trump administration allow work requirements in Medicaid Trump to let states require employment for Medicaid
Sammy Stanley | 11 January, 2018, 22:11

"In the past, federal officials said that work was not one of the purposes of Medicaid". It's a response to what several states have requested, says the White House.

The Trump administration claims that 10 states have applied for waivers to include work or community involvement requirements as prerequisites to receive Medicaid, according to NBC News.

Louisiana is developing a proposal to impose work requirements on certain adult Medicaid recipients, as the Trump administration announced it will allow states to enact such provisions.

"Medicaid needs to be more flexible so that states can best address the needs of this population", Verma said in a statement.

States wouldn't be able to request work requirements for disabled people and children under the new guidance; however, a number of nonpartisan health care think tanks point out that many Americans who rely on Medicaid can not work because they are the primary care providers for much sicker family members or live with other socioeconomic realities that make finding work more hard.

The Obama administration stretched the guidelines for Medicaid coverage to allow millions of working adults to qualify for the program.

More than 70 million Americans now receive Medicaid benefits, equalling roughly 1 out of 5 people in the country - a number that was considerably increased due to President Barack Obama's health care reform policies. Aligning requirements across these programs may streamline eligibility and reduce the burden on both states and beneficiaries and help beneficiaries succeed in meeting their work and community engagement responsibilities.

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As of October 2017, almost 75m individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and the children's health insurance program (Chip). In 1996, a welfare reform bill passed by the Republican-controlled congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, added work requirements to welfare benefits, among other changes to the welfare program now known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

The administration's latest action seeks to allow states to apply the rules in such a way that would allow them to impose work requirements on "able-bodied" adults. The program, funded jointly by the federal government and states, provides health coverage to low-income families and individuals, including children, parents, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities. That exemption also covers people undergoing treatment for substance abuse problems.

Nearly 60% of working-age Medicaid recipients are in fact working full- or part-time jobs, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. Of those without a job, more than a third are ill or disabled, 30 percent are caring for young children, and 15 percent are in school, the analysis shows.

"This is about helping those individuals rise out of poverty", said Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. States should ensure that career planning, job training, referral, and volunteering opportunities considered to meet the community engagement requirement, and job support services offered in connection with the requirement, take into account people's employability and potential contributions to the labor market.

The Trump administration's move allows states to deny medicaid if an able-bodied adult doesn't have a job.

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The new policy guidance sent to states is meant to help them design demonstration projects that promote the objectives of the Medicaid program and are consistent with federal statutory requirements. Demonstrations, which give states additional flexibility to design and improve their programs, are also created to evaluate state-specific policy approaches and better serve Medicaid populations.

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