Arkansas Medicaid recipients must start working in June

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"It's yet another way the Trump administration is embracing a slew of new regulations and requirements for state Medicaid programs as part of a broader philosophy that poor Americans should have more incentives to find employment and Medicaid should be treated only as a temporary program to give people a leg up", Paige Winfield Cunningham writes in The Washington Post. Verma said there are also eight other states with Medicaid work requirement waiver requests and more have shown interest.

The work requirement's approval was seen as key to winning support for reauthorizing the Medicaid expansion by state lawmakers in Arkansas.

Arkansas is the latest Republican-led state to win a CMS waiver to beef up requirements for participation in Medicaid.

Arkansas follows IN and Kentucky this year IN winning CMS' approval for the work requirement. But Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) sought to restrict the program so that only people who are at the federal poverty level would be eligible. This year, only enrollees age 30 to 49 will be subject to the work mandate, which will be broadened to include 19- to 29-year-olds in 2019.

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Those who fail to comply for three months will lose coverage for the rest of the calendar year.

"It certainly makes it more palatable", said Republican Sen. The majority of Medicaid beneficiaries are already from working families, but the requirement's bureaucratic hurdles and paperwork needs could leave out those who should qualify. Those gains will nearly certainly slide back down, according to Judith Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Other stated concerns have been that people will be discouraged from signing up.

Tens of thousands of low-income Arkansas residents will have to start working in June if they want to keep their Medicaid benefits.

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"The results of the referral showed that individuals who take advantage of these services are more likely to find a job than those who do not". It joins Kentucky and IN in being granted such a waiver, but Arkansas plans to put the requirement into effect earlier than the other states.

Arkansas expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare to people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, and receives federal funding to pay for those new enrollees.

Hutchinson said the revision will mean less Arkansans living in poverty.

Republicans were not able to repeal the ACA on Capitol Hill a year ago, but the CMS' waivers and Trump administration executive orders and policies are reshaping the health law.

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