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Jones writes: "A number of states are already taking advantage of a new federal rule allowing them to implement work requirements for Medicaid coverage."

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced federal approval for changes to Indiana's Medicaid program Friday in Indianapolis. (photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced federal approval for changes to Indiana's Medicaid program Friday in Indianapolis. (photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)


Work Requirements for Medicaid Will Actually Increase Poverty

By Sarah Jones, The New Republic

04 February 18

 

number of states are already taking advantage of a new federal rule allowing them to implement work requirements for Medicaid coverage. Roll Call reports:

At least four non-expansion states, including Mississippi and Kansas, have already submitted formal work requirement proposals to the Department of Health and Human Services. They are among at least 10 states, including Indiana and Arkansas, to do so. The administration has only approved one proposal so far—in Kentucky, a state that expanded the government insurance program for the poor under the health law.

A familiar reasoning underpins the argument for work requirements: People are poor because they don’t work. But most Medicaid recipients do work either full-time or part-time jobs; the rest, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, work as unpaid family caregivers or go to school. Only 7 percent of all Medicaid recipients are out of work for unknown reasons—and in depressed areas, those reasons could easily include a scarcity of local work.

The policy could directly backfire: People are healthier when they have access to health insurance, which means they’re better able to work. People recovering from opioid addiction could lose treatments covered by Medicaid. Work requirements, therefore, will push people further into poverty, and there will be dangerous ripple effects. Since a number of Medicaid recipients work as family caregivers, elderly people and people with disabilities could lose an important source of caregiving support. It’s a punitive policy with no real positive benefit—unless your goal is to make poverty seem like a pathology.


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+8 # BetaTheta 2018-02-04 10:35
These are good, rational arguments against the work requirements. Unfortunately, the new rules are being implemented to satisfy purely emotional reactions of the Republican base: "You are poor due to character flaws, while I got everything I have through hard work." Makes them feel good about themselves.
 
 
+6 # wilhelmscream 2018-02-04 12:12
It's a ploy 2 kick people off the Medicaid program so that each of these states offices can say: "you make too much 2 qualify".
 
 
+5 # ddd-rrr 2018-02-04 13:12
The 'Bublican approach to governmental policy: "Don't do what makes the most sense
in addressing a problem; do what is 'popular' -- and also the least effective!"
"Stupidity" currently rules within the GOP...!
 
 
+2 # intheEPZ 2018-02-04 20:02
It may be that people on Medicaid aren't working because they are--gasp--SICK !
 

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