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Medicaid recipients to get work requirements

AP  |  Washington 

Rewriting the rules on health care for the poor, the said Thursday it will allow states to require "able-bodied" recipients to work, a hotly debated first in the program's half-century history.

Seema Verma, of the Centers for and Services, said requiring work or community involvement can make a positive difference in people's lives and in their health. The goal is to help people move from public assistance into jobs that provide health

"We see people moving off of as a good outcome," Indian-American Verma said.

But advocates said work requirements will become one more hoop for low-people to jump through, and many could be denied needed coverage because of technicalities and challenging new paperwork. Lawsuits are expected as individual states roll out work requirements.

"All of this on paper may sound reasonable, but if you think about the people who are affected, you can see people will fall through the cracks," said of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which advocates for the poor.

Created in 1965 for families on welfare and low- seniors, Medicaid now covers more than 70 million people, or about 1 in 5 Americans. The federal-state collaboration has become the nation's largest health programme.

Beneficiaries range from pregnant women and newborns to elderly nursing home residents. Medicaid was expanded under former Barack Obama, with an option allowing states to cover millions more low-adults. Many of them have jobs that don't provide health


People are not legally required to hold a job to be on Medicaid, but states traditionally can seek federal waivers to test new ideas for the programme.

Verma stressed that the administration is providing an option for states to require work, not making it mandatory across the country. Her agency spelled out safeguards that states should put in place to get federal approval for their waivers.

States can also require alternatives to work, including volunteering, caregiving, education, job training and even treatment for a substance abuse problem.

The administration said 10 states have applied for waivers involving work requirements or community involvement. They are: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Advocates for low-income people say they expect Kentucky's waiver to be approved shortly.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 13:50 IST
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