Dems Attack Trump’s Medicaid Work Rules


Executive Order, President Donald J. Trump, April 9, 2018: “The federal government should do everything in its authority to empower individuals by providing opportunities for work, including by investing in federal programs that are effective at moving people into the workforce and out of poverty.”  

Katie Bernard, CNN – Top congressional Democrats requested Tuesday that the Department of Health and Human Services halt Medicaid work requirements, citing widespread loss of coverage in Arkansas.

The letter, signed by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey rebukes the administration for “disregard of Congressional intent” and a failure to track the impact of waiver policies.

Using Medicaid 1115 waivers, states can receive federal funds for Medicaid expansion despite modifying the policy outlined in the Affordable Care Act. The waivers, however, must be approved by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Arkansas was the first state to obtain a waiver and implement work requirements after the Trump administration signaled in 2017 that it was open to approving them. The Obama administration had rejected similar requests.

Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, and Pallone, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Committee, reiterated concerns they had expressed in letters before the Arkansas policy took effect.

“We unfortunately are now seeing these concerns play out in real life in the state of Arkansas where thousands of individuals have been forced off and locked out of their Medicaid coverage,” they wrote in the letter. Read more. 

Top Dems call for end to Medicaid work rules after 18,000 lose coverage in Arkansas

BY PETER SULLIVAN, The Hill – Top congressional Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to stop approving work requirements for Medicaid programs after more than 18,000 people lost coverage last year due to the requirements in Arkansas.

The Democrats called on Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to “put a halt to” approving more states to implement work requirements.

Eight states have been approved already to implement the requirements.

The Trump administration, which allowed work requirements in Medicaid for the first time starting last year, argues that the policy helps lift people out of poverty.

Democrats counter that the policy simply leads to people getting kicked off health coverage and that the administration is breaking the law by allowing the requirements without approval from Congress.

Lawsuits are currently progressing to challenge the work requirements in Kentucky and Arkansas. Read more.