Speed Reads

back to work

Trump administration to allow states to reimpose work requirements for Medicaid

The administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Tuesday that the Trump administration would allow states to impose work requirements on non-disabled Medicaid enrollees, The Washington Post reports. In a speech to the National Association of Medicaid Directors, CMS administrator Seema Verma told the audience that "the thought that a program that was designed for our most vulnerable citizens should be used as a vehicle to serve working age, able-bodied adults does not make sense."

Verma blamed the Obama administration for fighting "state-led reforms that would've allowed the Medicaid program to evolve": Under former President Barack Obama, the qualifications for Medicaid coverage expanded to 138 percent of the federal poverty level for non-disabled individuals. States were also allowed to seek a federal waiver from work participation requirements for healthy enrollees.

Critics of the Affordable Care Act argue that the Medicaid expansion and work requirement waivers put disabled individuals at a disadvantage because they encouraged able-bodied adults to enroll for Medicaid. Eight states — New Hampshire being the most recent — have submitted requests to the CMS to reimpose work or community service requirements for healthy Medicaid enrollees. A CMS official told Kaiser Health News that these decisions would likely be ruled on by the end of the year.