Top congressional Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to stop approving work requirements for Medicaid programs after more than 18,000 people lost coverage last year due to the requirements in Arkansas.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug Intercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 MORE (D-N.J.) and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Democrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal MORE (D-Ore.) wrote to the administration that the requirements “threaten to impede access to critical care for millions of Americans.”
Arkansas is the first state to implement work requirements for Medicaid enrollees, and more than 18,000 people were kicked off their coverage last year for failure to comply with the requirements.
The Democrats called on Azar to “put a halt to” approving more states to implement work requirements. Eight states have been approved already to implement the requirements.
The Trump administration, which allowed work requirements in Medicaid for the first time starting last year, argues that the policy helps lift people out of poverty.
Democrats counter that the policy simply leads to people getting kicked off health coverage and that the administration is breaking the law by allowing the requirements without approval from Congress.
Lawsuits are currently progressing to challenge the work requirements in Kentucky and Arkansas.
Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters in November that she was “looking closely” at why thousands of people had lost coverage in Arkansas.
“We are looking closely at the people that have left the program to understand the reasons why they have left the program, and I think that’s going to give us a lot of lessons learned,” Verma said at the time.