In more of his heartless-rich-whiteman shtick (except it’s obvious that he’s really all of these things), the Trump administration on Thursday announced that it will allow state-run Medicaid programs to require “able-bodied” Medicaid recipients to work, an action already co-signed by 10 states.
The new rules mandate that those who receive the health insurance based on income jump through even more hurdles to receive healthcare that they otherwise could not afford. The cynical among us may even surmise that states are doing this to get folks off their medical roles and save money.
Trump Administration official Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said requiring work or community involvement can make a positive difference in people’s lives and in their health. “We see people moving off of Medicaid as a good outcome,” she said of the more than 50 year old social safety net.
Several congressional Democrats swiftly condemned the new policy and, of course, Republican lawmakers were largely silent .
But Twitter wasn’t.
The administration said 10 states have applied for waivers involving work requirements or community involvement: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.
In Kentucky, Republican state Sen. Damon Thayer said work requirements could lessen the program’s impact on the state budget (bingo!), and said Medicaid shouldn’t be used as “a permanent subsidy for someone’s lifestyle, if they’re capable of working.”
However, WLFI reports that a Kaiser study found that most working-age adults on Medicaid are already employed. Nearly 60 percent work either full time or part time, mainly for employers that don’t offer health insurance.
There are some exceptions to the work rules including exempting pregnant women, disabled people and the elderly; those who take care of children or elderly relatives; hardship exemptions for areas with high unemployment; and using substance abuse treatment to count as “community engagement” and therefore meeting the requirement.
The AP reports that Medicaid was expanded under former President Barack Obama, with an option allowing states to cover millions more low-income adults—mostly working adults who have already jobs that don’t provide health insurance.
Trump’s new direction is not a permanent change to the program and can be reversed by the next president.
Read more at WLFI.com.