Healthcare

Michigan asks Trump administration to approve Medicaid work requirements

Michigan is asking the Trump administration to approve work requirements for thousands of low-income adults who gained health care under ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion. 

Under the proposal, beneficiaries between the ages of 19 to 62 will have to work, volunteer or attend job training for at least 80 hours a month to keep their benefits. 

There are 12 exemptions, including for those who are caretakers of family members younger than six and those who are pregnant. 

People not exempt from the work requirements will have to complete monthly verifications to prove they are working. 

"Beneficiaries who fail to meet the requirements will lose [Medicaid coverage] until they comply," reads the application Michigan officials sent to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Beneficiaries who don't meet the requirements for three out of 12 months will lose coverage for "at least one month" and will have to find a way to meet the requirements before they are reinstated. 

Michigan aims to begin the program in 2020. 

If the Trump administration doesn't approve the program, Michigan will end its expansion of Medicaid, which currently covers 655,000 individuals whose income is at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level - about $16,040 for one person. 

Medicaid work requirements have become a defining characteristic of the Trump administration. 

So far, it has approved Medicaid work requirements for four states: Arkansas, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Kentucky. 

Kentucky's work requirements were invalidated by a federal court, and Arkansas' program is currently being litigated. 

Several other conservative states like Utah and Wisconsin have requests pending with the administration. 

Supporters of work requirements argue they are necessary following ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid. 

While the traditional Medicaid program primarily covered pregnant women, children and the disabled, ObamaCare allowed states to expand the program to cover many more low-income childless adults. 

However, officials at the Trump administration argued those adults should be working and not relying on the government for health care, while opponents say Medicaid recipients who can work often do. 

 

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