Kentucky Is First To Get Federal OK For Medicaid Work Requirement

13 January, 2018, 05:14 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Steve Wagner of the executive director of the Universal Health Care Action Network at the Ohio Statehouse

They will have to figure out how to define the work requirement and alternative options, such as going to school or volunteering in some organizations; how to enforce the new rules; how to pay for new administrative costs; and how to handle the millions of enrollees likely to seek exemptions.

Republicans have long wanted to add work requirements for Medicaid recipients - which covers almost 75 million low-income children, adults and elderly and disabled Americans.

Jeff Myers, president and CEO of the Medicaid Health Plans of America, another trade group, noted that most people on Medicaid already work.

These Medicaid enrollees will have to submit any changes to income and employment information if it affects their Medicaid eligibility.

"Our policy guidance was in response to states that asked us for the flexibility they need to improve their programs and to help people in achieving greater well-being and self-sufficiency", Verma said. "Then you have folks that are disabled, that are caring for a child, those kind of circumstances", said Democratic Sen.

Kentucky is one of 10 states that have applied to CMS to enact a work requirement.

Bevin is calling the waiver "Kentucky HEALTH". People with disabilities, children, pregnant women and the elderly are exempt from the requirement.

But Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairwoman Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said the Senate has not discussed requiring those now enrolled in the program to work.

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"If CHIP funding runs out - and that seems to be what is happening as of this month in many states - that will lead children to be dropped from the program and will cause many pediatricians to rethink whether to participate in CHIP, since they will not have assurance that the bills will continue to get paid", Saloner, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email.

Opponents say the change will prevent people from getting the health care they deserve.

"We look forward to reviewing the outcomes from Kentucky's thoughtfully-crafted, groundbreaking demonstration, which will undoubtedly aid Medicaid reform efforts across our nation". Make no mistake: people will die because of this. Besides covering more people, Ohio's expansion increased access to crucial health services, including treatment for mental health and substance abuse.

Health care in the state has been a hot topic in recent weeks. Life can't be your highest value only part of the time.

"Kentucky HEALTH is specifically tailored with the unique needs of Kentuckians in mind". Accordingly, Gov. Bevin has signed an executive order directing the Commissioner of Medicaid to take necessary actions to terminate Kentucky's Medicaid expansion in the event that a court decision prohibits one or more of the components of the Section 1115 waiver from being implemented.

The National Health Law Program's Legal Director Jane Perkins said litigation is expected because the approval violates federal law. For example, the federal law only authorizes the secretary to allow states to ignore Medicaid's consumer protections when a state is implementing an experimental project created to promote the objectives of the Medicaid Act.

"We are still working through all the operational details", she explained.

On the other side of the aisle, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the move. "Today's announcement by CMS is a step toward taking the power out of Washington and sending it back to the state while also ensuring the long term fiscal sustainability of the Medicaid program".

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