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Kentucky scores first Medicaid work requirement approval

Kentucky scores first Medicaid work requirement approval

Medicaid beneficiaries range from pregnant women and newborns to elderly nursing-home residents. More than 700,000 Mississippians receive Medicaid. One of those states was Arkansas. Were you surprised when the letter went out from the Trump administration saying, OK, you can now apply to do this?

Kentucky, for example, is proposing that nondisabled people between 19 and 64 must work at least 20 hours per week to qualify.

The range of community engagement requirements can be quite broad, according to the CMS guidelines sent to states on Thursday. "Those days are over".

While Bevin said that Kentucky's new program, called HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health) would improve Kentuckians' health outcomes, critics, including U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said it would kick tens of thousands of people off health insurance. The agency is expected to start approving state waivers promoting "community engagement activities" in coming weeks.

SALO: No because in fact we had Seema Verma, as was referenced earlier, announce at our annual meeting back in November that this was coming and this was clearly a priority for the administration.

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which administers the program in IL, said the "policy notice and its implications are under review". Created in 1965 along with Medicare, Medicaid was originally conceived as a program to provide health care to strictly defined groups: poor children deprived of parental support, their caretaker relatives, the elderly, the blind, and those with disabilities. Research shows that 80 percent of Medicaid enrollees already belong to working households and that 60 percent are working themselves.

More than 285,000 Arkansans were enrolled in the Medicaid program as of January 1.

Local reaction was subdued Friday after Gov. Matt Bevin announced Kentucky earned federal approval to implement work requirements for Medicaid benefits. In addition, Kentucky HEALTH will ensure availability of Medicaid resources to our most vulnerable citizens by saving an initial estimated $2 billion dollars (federal and state) over the waiver demonstration period, allowing these funds to be focused on those most in need and other critical areas. In the past, federal officials said work was not among those objectives.

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"Kentucky will now lead on this issue", Bevin said during a news conference on Friday.

CMS Deputy Administrator and Director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Brian Neale applauded Kentucky's efforts. The goal is to help people move from public assistance into jobs that provide health insurance.

However some IL patient advocates said they hope the state doesn't submit a proposal to make having a job a condition of Medicaid eligibility, citing fears it would leave people without health insurance. They could also work as volunteers at food pantries and other charitable organizations. But, it said, states can not use federal Medicaid funds to pay for such "supportive services".

Wait, you say, that would be an outrageous burden to impose on the country club set, even those who do nothing more productive or job creating than occasionally tip their caddy?

And people in Medicaid are often dealing with crises - they may move a lot, or change phone numbers, making them hard to track down. And the rules say anyone who's medically frail or has an acute illness is exempt.

Under Bevin's Democratic predecessor, Gov. Steve Beshear, Kentucky embraced Medicaid expansion and was viewed as a national model for its implementation of the ACA.

But the new policy is exactly what some Republican governors were seeking.

One Bevin staffer suggested that the state's Medicaid rolls will be reduced by roughly 95,000 within the next five years because of the work requirements.


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