HARRISBURG, PA – Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a letter announcing that they will allow states to apply for waivers to institute work requirements for some Medicaid beneficiaries. Antoinette Kraus, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network issued the following statement:
“We are deeply concerned about the Trump Administration’s decision to encourage states to cut vulnerable individuals off from Medicaid by imposing work requirements that only act as administrative hoops. This is a back door attack on Medicaid, a program that allows people to keep working and keep healthy.
People in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program are already working or in working households. Fifty eight percent of PA’s Medicaid Expansion enrollees are already working, and 3 in 4 have at least one full-time worker in the home. Those who don’t work often can’t work because they are ill, caring for a sick family member, retired, or are in school.
Imposing work requirements without providing additional federal funding ignores the reality faced by those who are unemployed. In Pennsylvania’s shifting economy and in rural areas, requiring people to work without providing the necessary education, training, and supports needed to successfully attain and maintain employment jeopardizes their ability to live healthy, productive lives. The new federal guidance lacks a clear plan for states to meet both the health and employment needs of its citizens without creating massive state budget deficits.
Work requirements don’t increase employment or reduce poverty; they simply create more hoops for people to jump through to access medical care, and ultimately, reduce the number of people who can get care.”