ibusinesslines.com September 23, 2018

Kentucky First State Approved for Medicaid Work Requirements

13 January 2018, 05:29 | Erica Roy

Beth Harwell

Beth Harwell

Medicaid's chief federal officer is Seema Verma; her home state of IN submitted plans for a work requirement previous year, and the approval letter could come any day now. The agency is expected to start approving state waivers promoting "community engagement activities" in coming weeks.

Kentucky's plan is certain to face a legal challenge, with advocates arguing that changes contemplated by the state's plan are not allowed under federal Medicaid law, including work requirements, the elimination of transportation services to medical appointments and monthly premiums charged to people in poverty.

The legislature passed a law in 2017 stating that the program will not be renewed this time around, unless a work requirement is authorized.

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

It's a "large and sharp reversal" from Medicaid in the past, says Judith Solomon, vice president of health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In addition to the large group of enrollees already working, the federal guidelines excluded children - who make up almost half of Medicaid enrollees.

"Productive work and community engagement may improve health outcomes", Brian Neale, the director of the federal Medicaid office, said Thursday in a letter to state Medicaid directors.

"Should eligible Medicaid recipients be looking for work or be trying to work?"

Putnam said the federal match would be replaced in part by higher spending from private insurers because of a greater number of people on employer-sponsored plans.

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

One Bevin staffer suggested that the state's Medicaid rolls will be reduced by roughly 95,000 within the next five years because of the work requirements. CMS said states would have to test whether the work requirement improves enrollees' health - a point Solomon ridiculed.

Bevin's work requirement is aimed largely at "able-bodied" adults added to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and would exclude the elderly, disabled, medically frail, pregnant women or some adults caring for children or other relatives. Bevin said he expects the program to be fully implemented at the beginning of next year. "It's giving them a pathway to improved quality of life, expanded opportunities and an increased sense of worth", he said.

"The truth is, people are going to lose Medicaid coverage", he said.

The requirement, modeled after the work requirement for the state's food stamps program, would initially apply to enrollees ages 30-49 and would then be extended to those ages 19-29.

Federal and state officials and health policy experts said Medicaid beneficiaries could work at a variety of jobs - as cashiers, telemarketers, housekeepers, nursing and home health aides, child care providers, cooks and dishwashers, waiters and waitresses, retail sales clerks, landscapers, security guards and construction laborers, for example.

Failure to pay a premium after a 60-day grace period would result in them losing coverage and being unable to enroll again for six months unless all past due and current premiums and the beneficiary completes a "state-approved health literacy or financial literacy course". Among those Medicaid recipients who aren't working, most reported that a major illness, disability or family caregiving responsibility prevented them from working.

If proponents of work requirements are serious about helping people find work, they would invest in skill training and workforce development programs, rather than increasing red tape and making it harder for people to access health care.

"Today's attack on Medicaid is just the latest salvo of the Trump Administration's 2018 war on health care", Brad Woodhouse, director of the pro-ObamaCare group Protect Our Care, said in a statement.

Other News

Trending Now

Trump Lawyer Arranged $130K Payment for Adult Star's Silence
Trump has long rejected the accusations from over a dozen women who have made such claims against him. Clifford would not be Trump's first alleged encounter with a female porn star.

Deepak Malik fires India to big win in Blind Cricket WC opener
Pakistan scored 282 for the loss of eight wickets in their 40 overs with Md Jail scoring 90 from 91 balls before retiring hurt. Pakistan had earlier defeated Bangladesh and Nepal before coming to play India in the mega event.

Saudi Airstrikes Hit North Yemen Market, Killing 11 Civilians
Within 48 hours, the capital of Sanaa witnessed the killing of two Houthi militia leaders by the unidentified armed groups.

Germany is heading towards another GroKo after coalition talks reach breakthrough
The three coalition parties' support dropped by a cumulative total of almost 14 percentage points in the election. Had the talks failed, Merkel's only options would have been to form a minority government or hold new elections.

Health officials warn of widespread flu cases
Part of the reason people are concerned about this year's season is because of the type of virus that is circulating. Parkland Hospital in Dallas has seen nearly 1,000 people coming to their emergency department seeking treatment.

China's trade with N. Korea plunges due to United Nations sanctions
Beijing will not attend an worldwide meeting of foreign ministers in Canada to discuss North Korea , Reuters said , citing China's Foreign Ministry.

DiCaprio to star in Tarantino's Charles Manson movie
Although Tarantino's work hasn't always been loved by The Academy, he has already won two Oscars to date for his screenwriting. A deal for Tom Cruise to co-star is also being pursued, a part that was reportedly passed on by Brad Pitt .