Trump administration won’t approve lifetime limits on Medicaid


The Trump administration will not approve state requests to impose lifetime limits on Medicaid coverage, breaking with conservatives who have pushed for the strict limitation.

“We’ve indicated we would not approve lifetime limits, and we’ve made that pretty clear to states,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said Tuesday.

{mosads}Speaking at a Washington Post event on health care, Verma did not give details about other decisions facing the administration, such as whether to allow work requirements in states that have not expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare, and whether to allow drug testing for Medicaid enrollees, as Wisconsin is proposing. 

When asked about drug testing, Verma said only that the administration wants to evaluate state goals on an individual basis. 

Earlier this month, the administration rejected Kansas’s request to impose lifetime limits on beneficiaries, but Maine, Arizona, Utah and Wisconsin had also requested the ability to cap how long people can receive benefits.

All of the state lifetime cap proposals reflected the administration’s view that only the “able-bodied” will be impacted. Children, pregnant women and people with disabilities would be exempt from coverage limits.

Kansas’s proposal would have limited Medicaid coverage to three years, at which point people would lose access to Medicaid forever. Utah and Arizona are both seeking a maximum of five years of eligibility.

The Trump administration has made state flexibility on Medicaid a priority, but the refusal to consider lifetime limits shows that it is not willing to consider just any flexibility.

Advocates are already suing over the Trump administration’s decision to allow work requirements for Medicaid, and approving lifetime limits would have likely set off another legal battle.

Tags Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services lifetime limits Medicaid

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