Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Trump approves Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at a news conference Monday at the state Capitol in Little Rock Ark. with Seema Verma the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Verma on Monday approved a state plan to require that thousands of people on Trump approves Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas
Nellie Chapman | 07 March, 2018, 16:14

Arkansas on Monday became the third state to get the Trump administration's permission to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries. It's about giving people an opportunity to work.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and members of his Cabinet beamed as Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, signed their waiver proposal in Little Rock, saying it will lift able-bodied people out of poverty. The administration previously approved similar work requirement proposals in Kentucky and in, according to the Times. "We've got a Medicaid expansion program that's been nearly 50 percent over enrollment projections, significantly over budget - and I think what Governor [Asa] Hutchinson [R-Arkansas] and the legislature have done here is a really good thing to help people get out of the welfare trap, back into work, and into self-sufficiency - while also protecting taxpayers at the same time".

Democrats have criticized [Reuters report] the requirement, saying it will make it more hard for some Americans to receive health care.

The Governor said the work requirement will go into effect by May 1st.

The work requirement will affect Arkansas Works enrollees (those who receive coverage through Medicaid expansion) who are between 19 and 49 years old.

The Joint Budget Committee on Monday endorsed the budget bill for Medicaid and the state's Medicaid expansion program. 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 who fail to comply for three months will lose coverage for the rest of the calendar year. 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.

"She pledged during her confirmation to recuse herself from working on many states' Medicaid waivers to avoid conflicts of interest, including Arkansas", Sen.

State officials said they'll set up web-reporting services this month and notify affected person in early April.

Several other states have requests for work requirements pending with the Trump administration. 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.

Under Obamacare, states that expand Medicaid agree to open the program to those earning up to 138% of the poverty level.

Hutchinson said the revision will mean less Arkansans living in poverty.