States look to add Medicaid work requirements
What's the issue?
On January 11, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) released new guidelines that would allow states to require individuals to be employed in order to be eligible to receive Medicaid benefits.
States can apply for a waiver that would allow them to make these changes. At this point, CMS has approved a waiver for Kentucky; and nine other states have submitted waiver requests. This is a shift from previous administrations that did not make this waiver available.
In Kentucky, consumer health advocates are finalizing a lawsuit to try to stop the state from enforcing the work requirement stating that it undermines the purpose of Medicaid.
Why is it important?
Proponents of the new CMS guidelines believe it gives states flexibility to make improvements to the current Medicaid system. Meanwhile opponents believe it has the potential to reduce access to care to an already underserved population.
If states continue to be granted work requirement waivers, it could have a large impact on how underserved Americans access care. There are still several questions about how implementation of this new requirement will work in Kentucky. It is important to monitor this issue to understand how this could affect the Medicaid patients you serve in your state.