CMS Rejects MACPAC’s Advice To Pause Arkansas Work Requirements

Inside Health Policy

The Trump administration is rejecting a recommendation from the federal Medicaid advisory commission to pause Arkansas’ controversial program of Medicaid work requirements, CMS Administrator Seema Verma told the commission’s chairwoman in a letter obtained by Inside Health Policy. The decision allows Arkansas to continue imposing the program on tens of thousands of additional Medicaid beneficiaries even though CMS still has not approved any formal plan for state and federal officials to evaluate the program’s results.

The letter does not mention the coverage losses that have occurred under the program. Medicaid advocates blasted Verma’s response. “It’s like, ‘Thank you, next,’” said Joan Alker, the executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. “I think the administrator’s response was very flippant and disingenuous, completely ignoring the fact that over 18,000 people have lost coverage in Arkansas and there’s still no evaluation in place.”

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