First state receives approval to implement work requirements for Medicaid

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According to reports, the federal government on Friday granted the state of Kentucky approval to implement work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries, making Kentucky the first state in the nation to receive such authorization.

On Thursday, President Donald J. Trump’s administration issued guidance to states to implement the work requirements. The intention is to”incentivize” non-elderly, nonpregnant adult beneficiaries of Medicaid to seek employment.

“[The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)] will support state efforts to test incentives that make participation in work or other community engagement a requirement for continued Medicaid eligibility or coverage for certain adult Medicaid beneficiaries in demonstration projects authorized under section 1115 of the Social Security Act,” the government wrote in a letter to state Medicaid directors.

From Fox Business:

Under the new requirements, eligible adults will be required to work 80 hours in order to qualify for benefits. Job training, education or community service would also count as work, according to the waiver submitted by the state in 2016. Certain applicants will also be required to pay a premium based on income.

Throughout the entire half-century history of Medicaid, designed to provide health care to low-income individuals, benefits have never been contingent upon applicants working. But nine other states are currently seeking approval to implement similar requirements.

In May 2017, the Trump administration revealed budget blueprint. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Mick Mulvaney said at the time that the administration’s goal was to move Americans away from welfare programs, and get them back into the workforce.

“We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the amount of money we spend, but by the number of people we help,” Mulvaney said at the time.

He said the country was going to give its citizens the opportunity to work.

According to WDRB News, the rule will affect Medicaid recipients between the ages of 19 to 64.

KY Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, said the plan is estimated to save taxpayers over $300 million during the next five year. It will also kick about 95,000 people out of the system who don’t qualify.


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