New CMS guidelines allow work requirements for Medicaid recipients
12 January, 2018, 03:21 | Author: Phil Peters
Besides employment, it can include job training, volunteering or caring for a close relative.
'Our fundamental goal is to make a positive and lasting difference in the health and wellness of our beneficiaries'.
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said such a requirement has "not been something we've been pursuing" and indicated she likely won't seek to add it amid other efforts to reshape the state's Medicaid program, known as MassHealth. To get around this, the 10-page letter argues that working promotes good health and repeatedly asserts that the change fits within the program's objectives. "They want to develop programs that will help them break the chains of poverty and live up to their fullest potential".
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.
ME now has a proposal pending that would require able-bodied adults to be working, training for a new career, or volunteering.
The state and federal comment periods have closed for at least seven states that have already asked CMS to allow them to institute work requirements, according to NHeLP. Why Is Their Governor Resisting? Health officials could approve the first waiver - probably for Kentucky - as soon as Friday, according to two people with knowledge of the process.
The work requirements will likely have an impact on a broad number of adults.
In Kentucky, which expanded Medicaid, Republican state Sen.
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The policy change would mark the first time the publicly funded program, which has insured the health needs of the poor and disabled since its creation in the 1960s, has been allowed to require work for benefits. That's because children - who make up almost half of Medicaid enrollees - are excluded.
"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.
Still, critics fear a work requirement could have a chilling effect on people signing up for Medicaid or make it harder for people to get coverage. "The work requirement will deny care to untold numbers of Americans", Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said in a statement.
BREAKING: Trump administration is allowing states to terminate automatic, guaranteed Medicaid coverage for people with disabilities, the medically frail, and people who can't find jobs. It laid out the basics for work requirements that would be attached to a proposal called "Carolina Cares", a bill with some Republican backing that contemplates a modified version of Medicaid expansion.
CMS said the requirements "should take into consideration areas of high unemployment or care giving for young children or elderly family members". The work requirements are part of the state's request to the federal government for an exception to contract out both physical and behavioral health to private companies.
"This new guidance paves the way for states to demonstrate how their ideas will improve the health of Medicaid beneficiaries, as well as potentially improve their economic well-being", said Brian Neale, CMS Deputy Administrator and Director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services.
Far from requiring full-time work hours, the new policy states that eligible individuals will spend twenty hours a week in work-related activities, which may include job training or treatment for opioid addiction.
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