States can require Medicaid recipients to work, Trump administration says

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The Trump administration is paving the way for states to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients.

In a letter sent to State Medicaid Directors,┬áBrian Neale, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, said the changes are designed to promote “better mental, physical and emotional” health of recipients.

“Such programs may also….be designed to help individuals and families rise out of poverty and attain independence,” Neale wrote.

The change would allow states to apply for waivers to require non-disabled working age Medicaid recipients to get a job, volunteer, go to school or enter a work training program. Any work requirements would only apply to “able-bodied” adults with exemptions for children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Such regulations are already in place for most recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps.

Ten states – Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Utah and Wisconsin, are currently seeking work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Kentucky’s request could be approved as soon as this week, according to MSN.

Medicaid currently covers one in five Americans – about 73.5 million Americans. The program, funded jointly by the federal government and states, provides health coverage to low-income families and individuals, including children, parents, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities.

Children account for more than two-fifths of those enrolled, with seniors or persons with disabilities accounting for an additional one-fifth, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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