Medicaid has long been a controversial topic. Signed into law in 1965 as part of the Social Security Act, #Medicaid was born in the attempt to "provide health coverage for low-income people", as stated on the Medicaid website. Many believe this healthcare program is a free ride for those who do not wish to work. Certainly, that may be the case for some recipients, but for others who truly are down on their luck, the program provides a much-needed relief. For the first time in history, President Trump has agreed to allow states to place work requirements on those who receive these government benefits.

Medicaid work requirements for able-bodied individuals

The work requirement does not affect pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled, and, of course, children. The health coverage was originally created for people with medical issues who could not physically hold jobs, and the new update will not change for those who fit into that category.

According to Politico, in 2014 Obamacare allowed states to offer healthcare coverage to low-income individuals who suffered no debilitating medical problems. This addition to the Medicaid program was adopted by thirty-one states, as well as the District of Columbia. These able-bodied men and women are the ones who will be required to find work in order to keep their Medicaid benefits.

Administrator Seema Verma, of the trump administration, is passionate about the new Medicaid work requirements and feels that it is a positive change. "Our fundamental goal is to make a positive and lasting difference in the health and wellness of our beneficiaries."

Medicaid work requirements do not demand full-time hours

Far from requiring full-time work hours, the new policy states that eligible individuals will spend twenty hours a week in work-related activities, which may include job training or treatment for opioid addiction.

A letter of guidance released from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to State Medicaid Directors outlines many reasons why this change should add value to the lives of those required to work for their benefits, including the following

  • supports better health (physical, mental, emotional)
  • helps families to rise out of poverty
  • employment generally increases overall health
  • unemployment may lead to depression

Brian Neale, director of the federal Medicaid office, believes the new program will be greatly helpful for those involved.

"Productive work and community engagement may improve health outcomes. For example, higher earnings are positively correlated with longer lifespan."

Many states interested in requiring work for Medicaid recipients

So far, several states are requesting to add the new policy to their existing Medicaid program. Arizona, Utah, Kentucky, Arkansas, Kansas, Wisconsin, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Maine have shown interest.

What do you think of the new Medicaid policy requiring work in order to keep, or attain, benefits?