undergroundnewsroom.com April 26, 2018

Trump admin approves work requirements for Kentucky Medicaid recipients

14 January 2018, 12:32 | Damon Campbell

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Although each state could design these requirements differently - and some states might not add them at all - this new approach marks the first time Medicaid would require proof of work in exchange for health coverage.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday announced new guidelines which allow states to seek federal approval for demonstration projects.

But Kentucky's lone Democratic Congressman, John Yarmuth of Louisville, called the move "dangerous and irresponsible" and said Bevin is "sabotaging" health coverage for 95,000 Kentuckians - the number of enrollees the Bevin administration predicts will be removed from Kentucky's Medicaid rolls over the next five years.

The new guidance, however, could reverse this trend by allowing states to impose work or "community engagement" requirements for Medicaid coverage. Glisson. "Kentucky HEALTH also provides the opportunity for multiple cabinets within state government to coordinate and strengthen efforts to improve the quality of life for Kentuckians".

But it's not clear how many people would be affected by the new rules.

"I applaud CMS and Governor Bevin for recognizing the unaffordable mess left behind by his predecessors and responding with innovative, common-sense steps to engage patients, improving health, and reduce the burden on Kentucky taxpayers", McConnell said in a written statement.

And 80 percent of adult Medicaid recipients, according to Kaiser, live in families with someone who works.

SHAPIRO: Some states have been trying to implement this for several years, wanting to cut off Medicaid unless certain recipients were employed or in school. There are other exemptions for groups of people, as well. 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". No one is getting rich off Medicaid, and as Vox points out, research shows that when you take away health care from people, they are actually less likely to work, not more.

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This would exclude individuals eligible for Medicaid due to a disability, elderly beneficiaries, children , and pregnant women . Brian Neale, director of the federal Medicaid office, believes the new program will be greatly helpful for those involved.

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So what could this new guidance from the Trump administration mean for the 72.5 million Americans receiving Medicaid benefits and the millions more who will need it in the future? They could also work as volunteers at food pantries and other charitable organizations.

The state also eliminates its non-emergency transportation benefit for some adults in the program.

That money pays for salaries of doctors, nurses, home health aides, who spend the money in Kentucky communities on homes, cars and groceries, he said. Many governors, including Republican ones, have defended the Medicaid program as being critical to addressing the substance abuse crisis.

CMS told Bevin's office Friday that the agency had approved Kentucky's request and appreciated "the spirit of partnership" between the state and the agency.

Kentucky is one of 10 states that have applied to CMS to enact a work requirement. Almost 60 percent work either full time or part time, mainly for employers that don't offer health insurance.

As North Carolina has not expanded Medicaid, the only adults who are eligible for coverage are pregnant women with incomes of up to 196 percent of the federal poverty level, parents and/or caretakers with incomes up to 44 percent of the federal poverty level, and the aged, blind and disabled. Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was more than a simple expansion of the program, it was a transformation.

According to public health research that has been carried out, there is an interconnection between income and health.

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