IL reviewing new Medicaid work requirement guideline

Illinois Reviewing Medicaid Work Rule

So far ten states including - Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin - have applied for a federal waiver to include employment as a condition to Medicaid enrollment. Typically, waivers have allowed states to expand coverage to new populations or test out ways of delivering benefits to improve enrollees' health and save money. Even the phrase "work requirement" is something of an exaggeration.

"We expect that fewer people will be able to stay enrolled in coverage due to all of the red tape and penalties they'll encounter", said Emily Beauregard, executive director for Kentucky Voices for Health, an advocacy group. Those affected will be charged family premiums of $1 to $15 a month, depending on income levels. They wouldn't regain it until they've paid all of their missed premiums. Critics of the changes say they subvert Medicaid's objective of providing health care to low-income people and that Congress would need to approve a new mission to push people towards employment.

Almost 20 percent of the population received Medicaid benefits in 2015, according to the United States census.

The Obama administration had declined to offer waivers to states that requested a work requirement.

But the state's current governor, who inherited the expansion from his Democratic predecessor, has been a fierce critic of the health law, arguing it is unaffordable and pledging during his gubernatorial campaign to scrap the Medicaid expansion entirely.

Illinois Reviewing Medicaid Work Rule
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"I applaud CMS and Governor Bevin for recognizing the unaffordable mess left behind by his predecessors and responding with innovative, common-sense steps to engage patients, improving health, and reduce the burden on Kentucky taxpayers", McConnell said in a written statement. Under the waiver, Kentucky Medicaid recipients will have to submit documentation proving that they comply with the Medicaid work rules. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that three in every five nonelderly Medicaid adults, both parents and the childless, already work anyway, and four in five are in families where someone works. That's not too different from the nation's overall workforce participation rate of 62.7 percent.

The government is hopeful that the need for work will move numerous Medicaid beneficiaries into the workforce besides driving them out of abject poverty.

A survey Kaiser conducted a year ago said those who weren't working said it was because of an illness or disability, home or family responsibilities, pursuit of an education, retirement or inability to find a job.

IN CONTRAST with those of other advanced industrial democracies, especially in Europe, the USA system of social insurance and income support distributes benefits based not only on membership in society, but also on work effort, past and present. More than 60 percent of the non-working Medicaid recipients were women, according to Kaiser; 17 percent were parents with children under age 6.

Asked whether Gov. Kim Reynolds might pursue a work requirement, a spokesperson, Brenna Smith, said Thursday that "the governor is reviewing and considering the guidelines that just came out today". "Cutting off peoples' ability to get to a doctor when they need to only makes it harder for them to keep working, or find meaningful employment".