Trump administration approves second Medicaid work requirement
(ADAM CANCRYN, POLITICO) Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Friday granted Indiana permission to add work requirements to its Medicaid program, making it the second state to tie health coverage to employment for certain low-income enrollees.
Azar, days after being sworn in, touted the work requirement plan as an innovative approach to boosting employment and lifting poor adults out of poverty.
“Indiana’s vision and ours goes beyond the provision of quality health care,” Azar said during a news conference alongside Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and state officials.
“It recognizes that Medicaid can become a pathway out of poverty.”
The approval comes just weeks after President Donald Trump’s health department issued guidelines encouraging states to impose the first-ever employment-based restrictions in the Medicaid program’s 53-year history.
HHS in mid-January signed off on Kentucky’s work requirements plan and is considering similar requests from several more predominantly red states.
The Kentucky plan is already facing a legal challenge from advocacy groups, which contend the Medicaid statute doesn’t allow states to condition health benefits on employment.
The Indiana waiver builds on the conservative Medicaid expansion model pioneered in 2015 by then-Gov. Mike Pence, and developed by Seema Verma, the administrator of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, who was then a consultant.
In order to qualify for coverage under the new plan, able-bodied individuals under 60 years old would need to work at least 20 hours a week on average, be enrolled in school, or participate in the state’s job training and search program.
“There is a robust body of academic evidence to show that work is a key component of well-being,” Azar said.
“This in particular is going to help open new opportunities for a lot of Hoosiers.” Read the full story at POLITICO.
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