Trump approves Arkansas Medicaid work requirements
09 March, 2018, 04:08 | Author: Terri Saunders
An effort to continue Arkansas' Medicaid expansion another year has cleared a major hurdle in the state Legislature, a day after the Trump administration said the state could impose a work requirement on the program.
Under Obamacare, states that expand Medicaid agree to open the program to those earning up to 138% of the poverty level. Most of that amount ($307 million) would come from the income requirement change.
Instead, Horton says Medicaid work requirements would apply to able-bodied, mostly childless, working-age adults who need jobs.
The approvals mark the first time ever that states have been allowed to mandate Medicaid enrollees to work in exchange for benefits. It joins Kentucky and IN in being granted such a waiver, but Arkansas plans to put the requirement into effect earlier than the other states.
The administration on Monday granted the state permission to create work requirements for Medicaid recipients. But Verma chose to personally approve the Arkansas waiver on Monday and flew to Little Rock, Ark., to make the announcement with Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson. "It's about giving people an opportunity to work". But Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) sought to restrict the program so that only people who are at the federal poverty level would be eligible.
Lawmakers on Monday got their first look at the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill that calls for a almost $173 million increase in spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1. She said it's easy to hand someone a health insurance card, but it's much harder to get them off Medicaid to a "better life and job that offers them health insurance". But unlike IN and Kentucky, the other states that have been granted similar waivers this year, Arkansas plans to discipline Medicaid recipients who fail to meet the requirements by locking them out of the system for a period of time - the first time a "lockout period" for failure to work, train or volunteer will be deployed IN the Medicaid system.
Arkansas Works enrollees who are 19 to 49 years old will be subject to the work requirement. Individuals subject to the work or community engagement requirement must report 80 hours of work activity every month or show that they are exempt from reporting work activities. That can include job training, job searching, school, health education classes or volunteering.
Critics say work requirements will only serve to make access to care more hard for those who need it most. Those gains will nearly certainly slide back down, according to Judith Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Arkansas would have been the first state to scale back the eligibility for a key part of the federal health overhaul.
Arkansas' proposal will not affect people on its traditional Medicaid program, which covers about more than 645,000 people statewide.
The Governor said the work requirement will go into effect by May 1st.
Republicans were not able to repeal the ACA on Capitol Hill previous year, but the CMS' waivers and Trump administration executive orders and policies are reshaping the health law.
The approval demonstrates that in Arkansas, people still listen to each other and work together for solutions. Alan Clark, an opponent of the expansion who said he was undecided on whether to support the budget measure.
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