On Friday, Indiana officials announced that they gained permission from the Trump administration to require Medicaid recipients to volunteer or work 20 hours or more per week to get their benefits.
The Health and Human Services said that Indiana’s move is designed to turn Medicaid into a “pathway out of poverty.” The Trump administration is confident that the new work requirements will raise employment rates and benefit Hoosiers’ “well-being”.
Indiana’s vision and ours goes beyond the provision of quality health care. Work is a key component of well-being,
HHS secretary Alex Azar said Friday.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services explained that the recent waiver’s goal is to assure that the work requirements would result in better health outcomes. The topic, however, is a hot button as the Obama administration never approved any such waivers.
Under the Trump administration, Indiana has become the second state to instate such requirements for Medicaid recipients. The other state is Kentucky which received the approval last month. CMS reportedly encourages states to approve the measures.
Work Requirements Could Lead to Healthier Lifestyles
CMS officials strongly believe that requiring people to work or volunteer before handing out to them federal money is a great way of improving their lifestyles. The logic is widespread in Republican states, but a recent lawsuit tries to challenge it.
According to Indiana’s official reports, there are 130,000 able-bodied Medicaid recipients who could be required to work. The number does not take into account the people who are exempt or already have a job.
The state will exempt disabled people, pregnant women, students, caregivers of sick family members, and people enrolled in substance abuse treatments. In order to get their Medicaid benefits, people will have to work for at least 20 hours every week, be part of one of Indiana’s job training programs, or go to school.
Medicaid enrollees that refuse to work will see their benefits suspended until they can prove they can meet the requirements for at least 30 days.
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