Trump to let states force work for health care

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According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the guidance will help states design demonstration projects, which test how program changes might play out. Three other states are contemplating them. Advocates for low-income people say they expect Kentucky's waiver to be approved shortly.

"We know that Republicans tend to think of Medicaid more as a welfare program, while Democrats tend to think of it as more of a health insurance program", said Diane Rowland, the Kaiser foundation's leading expert on the program. And it includes a definition of "medically frail" and says that states must exempt any individual with an acute medical condition - as validated by a physician - from complying with the requirement, he added. Recipients who meet the work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, and by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, must be considered in compliance with their state's Medicaid rules.

Asked whether that criticism extended to Cooper's proposal, a Price spokesman said simply that the congressman believes health care is a basic human right.

A University of MI team recently published data in JAMA Internal Medicine from detailed survey of more than 4,000 MI residents enrolled in the state's expanded Medicaid program.

"One of the things that states have told us time and time again is that they want more flexibility to engage their working-age, able-bodied citizens on Medicaid", Verma told a conference of state Medicaid directors in November.

Kentucky, which has some of the poorest counties in the country, has seen its Medicaid enrollment double in the past three years after the state expanded eligibility under the ACA.

'Medicaid is a health program that is supposed to serve people who don't otherwise have coverage'.

"Don't be fooled by all the bells and whistles in #Medicaid work guidance", Vice President for Health Policy at the Center on Budget Judy Solomon wrote on Twitter. 30% said they were watching over a relative, while 15 percent said they would school.

In a statement released this afternoon, Baker's office said it "does not support applying work requirements to the MassHealth program". "It's not a good idea, and it's illegal".

"I don't know that that one change would make any sort of fundamental change", House Appropriations Chairman Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said. It's a little like saying that rain causes clouds.

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"Justifying work requirement that will cut people off #Medicaid by citing #Medicaid initiatives that provide support to people with disabilities so they can work is perverse".

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

Calling the new policy "unconscionable and illegal", Eliot Fishman, senior health policy director at the liberal consumer health lobby Families USA, said in a statement: "Today's announcement isn't about work".

In a CMS call with reporters Thursday morning, Verma countered, "This policy is about helping people achieve the American Dream".

"There are a lot of different ideas, and a lot of ways to go about this", Verma said.

"Medicaid needs to be more flexible so that states can best address the needs of this population". The broadening of Medicaid to low-income adults under Obamacare - roughly 11 million have gained coverage under the health reform law's Medicaid expansion provision - further spurred GOP efforts. "Work requirements impose an additional, unnecessary barrier to allowing patients access to vital health care services for people who need access and coverage the most".

Contrary to the right-wing trope that recipients of Medicaid are unemployed moochers, a Kaiser Family Foundation study published last month found that 80 percent of adult Medicaid recipients "live in working families, and a majority are working themselves". More than half of which are children.

The report also states that people with a full-time job are less likely to suffer from depression. Even people who are employed might lose benefits if they failed to submit pay stubs or other documentation.

The move is already amassing vocal critics. States should take these issues - as well as recipients' employability - into consideration and allow for modifications or exemptions, the agency said. And "it is illegal because it contravenes Medicaid's objective of providing medical assistance to low-income and vulnerable people".