NH GOP leaders plan to add Medicaid work requirement

US moves to limit Medicare the publicly funded health insurance program for the poor and disabled have been the subject of protests like this one in July,2017 in New York City

NH GOP leaders plan to add Medicaid work requirement

"Federal approval of Kentucky HEALTH is a significant milestone on our journey to lead the nation in transforming Medicaid in a fiscally responsible way".

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

But Bevin dismissed such comments and said the plan will transform Medicaid.

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

In a statement for the Center for American Progress, Executive Vice President for External Affairs Winnie Stachelberg said, "Ripping away health care from people who have lost their jobs will not create a single job, raise anyone's wages, or help anyone who is struggling to find work". Since applying for the waiver, Gov. Bevin said these are the terms under which Kentucky can maintain extended Medicaid.

The policy change would mark the first time the publicly funded program, which has insured the health needs of the poor and disabled since its creation in the 1960s, has been allowed to require work for benefits.

"I want to publicly thank Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner, and the countless dedicated state employees who worked tirelessly to develop and secure approval for a program that will positively change Kentucky's health narrative for generations to come". Studies show most Medicaid-eligible families already have at least one person holding down a job, it just doesn't pay well enough to afford private health insurance, and thanks to recent tinkering with the Affordable Care Act, it's not getting any more affordable anytime soon. "It's making people healthier that enables them to work", he said.

Bevin agreed the plan might face a legal challenge but seemed unconcerned.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a work-search requirement passed past year by the Republican-controlled state Legislature. Bevin said he expects the program to be fully implemented at the beginning of next year.

"Most human beings don't like being wards of someone else", he said. But the changes also would make it harder for people to keep their Medicaid coverage. More than 60 percent of the non-working Medicaid recipients were women, according to Kaiser; 17 percent were parents with children under age 6. The letter released Thursday by CMS contains similar language on the work requirements. The broadening of Medicaid to low-income adults under Obamacare - roughly 11 million have gained coverage under the health reform law's Medicaid expansion provision - further spurred GOP efforts.

In a speech to state Medicaid officials in November, Verma indicated that the Trump administration would be receptive to adding work requirements and considering other conservative policy ideas to reshape Medicaid.

Under the proposed work requirement, people will have to prove that they're working or performing some other qualifying activity such as volunteering. "It's giving them a pathway to improved quality of life, expanded opportunities and an increased sense of worth", he said.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the approval on Friday. "These radical and counterproductive changes will result in almost 100,000 Kentuckians losing coverage".

Although the first waiver has been approved, the road to work requirements could be longer than their supporters hope: Health policy experts anticipate that lawsuits will be filed quickly.

In Kentucky, for instance, the waiver will also freeze people's coverage if they fail to report any changes in their employment or income.

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

Verma, who served as a Medicaid consultant for IN and Kentucky before joining the Trump administration, has long advocated for work requirements. The department is expected to begin to approve the state waivers immediately. It is also contrary to HHS's claim that "work requirements" promote work.

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