Leading Children’s Health and Medical Groups Respond to South Carolina Medicaid Waiver

Work requirements have been proven to be ineffective and would cause parents to lose coverage. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund, First Focus on Children, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, March of Dimes and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners issue the following joint statement in response to the approval of South Carolina’s Section 1115 waiver:

“Our organizations represent children, pregnant women, families, children’s health care providers and advocates across the country, and we speak with one voice today in opposition to barriers preventing families from getting the health care coverage they need.

“With this approval, South Carolina becomes the first state in the nation to primarily impose the harmful policy of work requirements on low-income parents with children.

“Medicaid work reporting requirements just don’t work. The requirements are burdensome for individuals, do not lead to increases in employment, and instead cause people to lose their health insurance coverage. We are disheartened and alarmed that the Administration has once again approved a policy that has been proven to lead to fewer people getting the care they need.

“Right now, we are facing an alarming increase in the number of uninsured children across the country. Instead of working to address it, the Administration is allowing more barriers to coverage that will worsen this trend. Children are more likely to be covered when their parents are covered. South Carolina’s waiver could help children and families by expanding Medicaid eligibility for low income parents. Unfortunately, at the same time it purports to help these families, South Carolina will impose work reporting requirements on these families, likely taking away the very coverage it has just promised.

“The approval of the South Carolina Medicaid waiver does nothing to help parents living in or near poverty to overcome the barriers they face in obtaining jobs, such as providing affordable, quality childcare and job training, but instead adds red tape burdens that will fall squarely on parents’ shoulders. Children rely on healthy parents and caregivers to help them meet their health and developmental needs, and this waiver will make it harder for parents to be there for their children.

“The bottom line is that the South Carolina waiver will harm children and their parents, which is why our organizations are speaking out against it. We urge the Administration to instead pursue policies that keep Medicaid strong.”