Trump Allows States to Implement Work Requirements for Medicaid

Medicaid protest
Justin Sullivan/Getty
SEAN MORAN

The Donald Trump administration said on Thursday that they will allow states to implement work requirements for Medicaid.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a guidance, making it easier for states to design and propose programs to implement work requirements for Medicaid. States will have to submit waivers to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and receive approval from the federal government to implement the work requirements.

The potential Medicaid work requirements would only apply to able-bodied working age adults; Americans with disabilities, older Americans, children, and pregnant women would not have to comply with potential Medicaid work stipulations.

CMS administrator Seema Verma, who worked with then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to reform the state’s Medicaid program, said, “This gives us a pathway to start approving waivers. This is about helping those individuals rise out of poverty.”

Kentucky submitted a waiver to the federal government to apply work requirements for Medicaid; a study found that the requirements would reduce the number of Kentuckians on Medicaid by 86,000 within five years and save the state more than $330 million.

An August poll revealed that a majority of Americans support work requirements for Medicaid.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said that social safety net programs should lift people up rather than trapping them in a cycle of poverty.

“We should treat public assistance more like a trampoline than a hammock,” Walker explained.

Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told Breitbart News that the Freedom Caucus wants to enact welfare reform to bring people out of the “welfare trap.”

“You have a tight labor force and wages are going up, but that is totally compatible with the fact that people have left the labor force altogether. That is why [Speaker Paul Ryan] and the Freedom Caucus is interested in doing welfare reform for able-bodied workers,” Brat told Breitbart News. “You have plenty of folks, who instead of being stuck in a welfare trap, we want in companies and businesses making money and providing for their families.”

Brat added, “I think work requirements are a fundamental reform to entitlements. The Maine experiment had some dramatic effects. Maine is not known for being a bastion of conservatism, and, as a result, welfare roles went down by 60 to 70 percent, which is just huge.”

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