Different Takes: Medicaid Work Requirements Grant States ‘Flexibility’; The Able-Bodied Are ‘Everywhere’
Editorials focus on the Trump administration's changes to the program designed to help the poor.
The Washington Post:
Making Medicaid A Pathway Out Of Poverty
Americans are among the most generous people in the world. While this nation was founded on the pursuit of a shared dream, the moral pledge of the American people has been to never leave behind our most vulnerable fellow citizens. When we created Medicaid in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, we formalized that commitment and wove a fabric of care that has provided health services for seniors in need, pregnant mothers, low-income children and parents, and people with disabilities. Johnson affirmed the nation’s safety net, saying, “Our aim is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.” (Seema Verma, 2/4)
The New York Times:
Who’s Able-Bodied, Anyway?
The “able-bodied” are now everywhere among government programs for the poor, Republican officials point out. They’re on food stamps. They’re collecting welfare. They’re living in subsidized housing. And their numbers have swelled on Medicaid, a program that critics say was never designed to serve them. These so-called able-bodied are defined in many ways by what they are not: not disabled, not elderly, not children, not pregnant, not blind. They are effectively everyone left, and they have become the focus of resurgent conservative proposals to overhaul government aid, such as one announced last month by the Trump administration that would allow states to test work requirements for Medicaid. (Emily Badger and Margot Sanger-Katz, 2/3)
Bevin Medicaid Waiver Saves Money At Expense Of Sick People In Kentucky
In the year-and-a-half since Gov. Matt Bevin first presented his proposed Medicaid waiver, and especially since the Trump administration approved it a few weeks ago, I have been hearing from many that eligible people who are able to work, but don’t, should lose their Medicaid coverage. Some folks even quote St. Paul: “Those who don’t work should not eat.” Those words do not reflect Christ, however, who said, “Bring me the hungry and I will feed them.” Christ also healed the sick, and that is exactly what Medicaid does. If we truly want stronger citizens, good health is the foundation we must absolutely have. What the waiver ignores is that most Medicaid recipients already live in a working household. Of the 24 million nondisabled adults who received Medicaid in 2015, 59 percent were working themselves, and 88 percent lived at home with at least one worker. (Rep. Tom Burch, 2/3)
Richmond Times Dispatch:
Expanding Medicaid Helps Virginians And Virginia's Budget
By expanding Medicaid, we bring home billions in federal funds to close this coverage gap — funds that are now going to other states. So far, Virginia has forfeited more than $10 billion in federal funding. (Jennifer McClellan, 2/3)