More states eye Medicaid work requirements

Roll Call

By: Jason Dick

A growing number of mostly Republican-led states are rushing to follow Kentucky’s lead in requiring thousands of people on Medicaid to work or lose health coverage. The governors of South Dakota, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina have said in recent weeks that they plan to pursue work requirements for their Medicaid programs, following the Trump administration’s release of guidelines for the concept in January.

Many of the non-expansion states considering work requirements already have some of the most stringent Medicaid eligibility requirements in the country. In Alabama, adults without children are barred from the program altogether; meanwhile, parents can only qualify if they earn no more than 18 percent of the federal poverty level, or less than $3,800 a year for a family of three, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “These are parents living in the deepest poverty,” said Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. “Very vulnerable people will lose coverage, including parents, and I expect children to also be harmed by these policies.”

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