Parsing The Policy: Will Medicaid Work Requirements ‘Backfire’?; Will They Make People Healthier?
The Trump administration plan to add work requirements to the Medicaid program drew strong reactions from opinion writers across the country.
The New York Times:
The Trump Plan To Hurt The Poor By Pretending To Help Them
When Ohio and Michigan expanded their Medicaid programs to broaden coverage, residents who became eligible found it easier to look for work, according to studies by the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the University of Michigan. That’s because having Medicaid gave them access to primary care doctors and prescription medicine that helped them live normal lives and get jobs. That’s how you help people in the real world. The Trump administration said Thursday that it would get poor people to work by letting state governments deny them Medicaid if they don’t have a job. (1/11)
The New York Times:
Trump’s Medicaid Work Requirement Will Backfire
Just because President Trump and the Republican Congress were unable to pass health care legislation that would have unwound the coverage benefits of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t mean such attacks are behind us. To the contrary, Republicans are now making an end run around Congress to accomplish one of their harshest goals: kicking economically vulnerable people off Medicaid. (Jared Bernstein and Hannah Katch, 1/11)
The New York Times:
Can Requiring People To Work Make Them Healthier?
One of the clearest patterns in public health research is the correlation between income and health. The richer you are, the more likely you are to have good health, and live a long life. The poorer you are, the more likely you are to be sicker, and die younger. That data could be an argument for just giving poor people money to improve their health. But in general, the way states and the federal government try to make poor people healthier is by giving them health insurance instead. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 1/11)
The Washington Post:
Medicaid Work Requirements Are One Of The Least Politically Controversial Things Trump Has Done
The big news Thursday morning — besides President Trump undercutting his own White House on FISA — was that his administration is moving to allow states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. And as The Washington Post's Amy Goldstein reports, it's a legally controversial decision because it would impose such requirements for the first time in Medicaid's half-century history. It's simply not clear that the law allows for it. And opponents quickly cried foul, arguing that the move would harm the poor. Politically speaking, though, this is among the least controversial things Trump has done as president. For decades, Americans have overwhelmingly supported work requirements for government assistance. (Aaron Blake, 1/11)
Medicaid Work Requirements Are A Throwback To Rejected Racial Stereotypes
Some myths just won’t die, no matter how odious or untrue. And in the Trump era of outright lies masquerading as “alternative” facts, it is no surprise that we are seeing decades-old canards creep back into, and muddy, policy debates. A new Trump administration policy does just that by encouraging states to place work requirements on people who want to receive health insurance coverage through Medicaid. The Trump administration wants to decimate vital programs like Medicaid. ... Never mind that these sorts of mandates don’t work — numerous studies, including those from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, confirm the inefficacy of work requirements in alleviating poverty or increasing employment over the long-term. Never mind that most Medicaid recipients already work if they are able to do so. Never mind that work requirements have never been allowed in the 50-plus years of the Medicaid program. (Vanita Gupta and Fatima Goss Graves, 1/11)
Los Angeles Times:
Threatening To Take Away Their Care At Gunpoint Isn't The Way To Get Medicaid Recipients Working
According to the Trump administration, having a job makes you healthier. Most people — especially those who aren't coal miners, air traffic controllers or professional football players — would agree with that. So it's not unreasonable for the federal government to encourage states to try to get more of their able-bodied Medicaid recipients into jobs. In fact, it's something Medicaid has been doing for some time with disabled Americans. (Jon Healy, 1/11)
Trump's New Medicaid Work Requirements Are A Disaster For Disabled People (And Everyone Else)
[A]llowing states to implement the work requirement is a terrible idea. As a disability lawyer and disabled person myself, I know this policy change will be disastrous for my community in a number of important ways. My first concern involves the eligibility process. According to the Washington Post, states will be able to decide for themselves who qualifies as “disabled” for the purpose of being exempt from the work requirement. No matter how broad they define the category, there will be disabled people who do not qualify for the exemption even though they should. (Katie Tastrom, 1/12)
The Problem With Work Requirements For Medicaid
In November, the Trump administration announced that it would be more open to proposals from states that impose work requirements for Medicaid. In other words, it would allow states to apply restrictions on “able-bodied” adults who might apply for the program. This is an abrupt change from the Obama administration, which supported Medicaid eligibility by income levels, regardless of whether people had jobs or not. (Aaron Carroll, 1/11)