Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said requiring work involvement can benefit peoples lives and their health. The goal is to help people move from public assistance into jobs that provide health insurance. "We see people moving off of Medicaid as a good outcome," she said.
Verma stressed that the administration is providing an option for states to require work, not making it mandatory across the country. Her agency spelled out safeguards that states should put in place to get federal approval for their waivers.
Thursday's administration guidance spells out safeguards that states should consider in seeking work requirements. These include:
—Exempting pregnant women, disabled people and the elderly.
—Taking into account hardships for people in areas with high unemployment, or for people caring for children or elderly relatives.
—Allowing people under treatment for substance abuse to have their care counted as "community engagement" for purposes of meeting a requirement.
Medicaid is a government funded program that helps low-income families and individuals pay for the cost of healthcare. Medicaid has strict eligibility requirements. Because Medicaid is different in every state, the requirements do vary. The program is designed to help the poor so requirements usually are that the recipients have no more than a few thousand dollars in liquid assets.
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