Kentucky Will Require Medicaid Recipients To Work For Benefits

Tying health benefits to work requirements would be a first for Medicaid, the state and federal health program for low-income Americans.

But the administration is defending the legality of the shift.

The administration's latest action spells out safeguards that states should consider to obtain federal approval for waivers imposing work requirements on "able-bodied" adults. The Obama administration fought against states adding work requirements similar to those adopted for other welfare programs during the Clinton administration. "I want to thank Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner, and the countless dedicated state employees who worked to develop and secure approval for this innovative program that will truly improve people's lives".

Many of those people would be exempt from a work requirement, and states could also make some allowances for people battling addiction.

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But now they have Measure 101, which asks voters to approve up to $320 million in taxes on hospitals and certain health insurers to help pay for Medicaid.

"This is about helping people rise out of poverty", Verma said in press conference, according to NPR. "Something we have not seen in America in a quarter century". "There's a lot of lawsuits that fly around". "People certainly have that right". Democrats argue the objective of the program is to provide health insurance to low-income people, which won't be met by requirements that could result in people getting kicked off the program.

CMS Deputy Administrator and Director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Brian Neale applauded Kentucky's efforts. In the end, that state included in its Medicaid expansion only an encouragement of voluntary efforts by beneficiaries to train for work or find jobs. Many of them have jobs that don't provide health insurance.

"It's not that work creates health". "They have taken two things that are correlated - work and health - and made up a false causation, and they're trying to use that to justify what is really a square peg they are trying to fit into a round hole".

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And it comes one day after the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare announced it has approved controversial new "community engagement" rules to allow states to require some Medicaid beneficiaries to work or volunteer in order to get health coverage. Kentucky's new program will improve the health of its participants, strengthen Medicaid's long-term fiscal sustainability, and promote personal responsibility for health and well-being.

State officials estimated the waiver will lead to 95,000 fewer people on Medicaid, and about 350,000 Kentuckians would be subject to a community engagement requirement. Freedom Partners executive vice president Nathan Nascimento said that prioritizing assistance to those most in need bolsters the effectiveness of the Medicaid program.

Q: How many additional people would get Medicaid if the program were expanded?

"When you really think about it, there's a strong case to be made that this is a continuation of the efforts to repeal [ObamaCare's Medicaid] expansion that failed a year ago after multiple attempts, and this is the administrative approach to getting to the same place", said Judy Solomon, vice president for health policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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The two sides will hold more talks Wednesday on the North's athletes attending the Olympics . Its delegation also included Hyon Song-wol, the leader of the all-female Moranbong Band .

Nonetheless, Kentucky is expected to be the first state to impose a work mandate, followed perhaps by Vice President Mike Pence's home state of Indiana.

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