Tuesday, 16 January, 2018

Trump White House clears path for Medicaid work requirement

Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma listen at right as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. The Trump adm Trump policy shift means states could require Medicaid recipients to work
Kenny Thornton | 11 January, 2018, 22:12

Verma also said that any drop in Medicaid rolls as a result of work requirements would stem from people no longer needing it.

The changes are an opening salvo in the administration's push this year to overhaul federal safety net programs, with the White House asking departments and agencies across the government to review eligibility for low-income assistance programs.

The Trump administration Thursday offered a roadmap for states seeking federal backing for waivers imposing the work requirements on the low-income adults in the Medicaid program.

The Trump organization on Thursday revealed direction enabling states out of the blue to force work necessities in Medicaid, a noteworthy move in the medical coverage program for poor people. Kentucky's request could be approved as soon as this week, according to MSN.

"Medicaid needs to be more flexible so that states can best address the needs of this population".

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance making it easier for states to design and propose test programs that implement such requirements. Under the Affordable Care Act, the program has expanded in more than 30 states to cover residents with somewhat higher incomes. Medicaid is pretty different from even other government health care programs; its beneficiaries are the poorest people in America, kids, and people with disabilities-a coalition of Americans who often have the most hard health care needs in the country compared with the employer-sponsored private health market.

But it's not clear how many people would be affected by the new rules.

As of October 2017, almost 75m individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and the children's health insurance program (Chip). Programs like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which provides cash assistance to persons with modest incomes, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, make work conditional of federal assistance.

Mueller conveys interest in questioning Trump
The president's lawyers have previously stated their determination to cooperate with Mueller's requests. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was indicted on charges tied to foreign lobbying work.

The administration's latest action seeks to allow states to apply the rules in such a way that would allow them to impose work requirements on "able-bodied" adults.

The federal government reimburses a portion of the money spent by states to provide Medicaid coverage for those who are eligible. In practical terms, they would represent new requirements for beneficiaries in those states.

"A$3 growing body of evidence suggests that targeting certain health determinants, including productive work and community engagement, may improve health outcomes" the letter says.

"This gives us a pathway to start approving waivers", Verma said on a call with reporters.

About 40 percent of nonelderly, non-disabled adults who have Medicaid coverage aren't working, according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Trump administration's move allows states to deny medicaid if an able-bodied adult doesn't have a job.

. Of those without a job, more than a third are ill or disabled, 30 percent are caring for young children, and 15 percent are in school, the analysis shows.

The guidance specifies only that pregnant women and "medically frail" people be exempt - though frailty is not defined - and that people with opioid addiction be either exempted or allowed to count time in drug treatment toward work activities.

The report also states that people with a full-time job are less likely to suffer from depression. For close to a year, the administration has signaled an interest in helping states that want to institute work requirements.

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