Trump Allows States To Force Poor, Sick People To Work For Medicaid

The Trump administration is going to allow 10 states to force low-income people — who need medical care — to work for Medicaid, which is supposed to be a social safety net.

The New York Times notes that the Trump administration wants adults — who are in need of medical care — to engage in work or other “community engagement activities” in order to receive Medicaid.

Seema Verma, the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, claimed that forcing people — in need of medical care — contributes to their “health and wellness.”

According to Verma, the Trump administration is responding to requests from Medicaid officials in 10 mostly Republican states — Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin — who want sick poor people to work or be part of  “community engagement activities” such as training, education, job search, volunteer activities and caregiving.

It’s not clear how sick and ill people are supposed to engage in “community engagement activities” while they are ill.

Verma complained that the the Obama administration had focused on increasing Medicaid enrollment (health care coverage for poor people under Obamacare) instead of helping people out of poverty and into jobs.

In reality, unemployment went down during the Obama administration.

The Kaiser Family Foundation notes that most non-elderly adults on Medicaid already have jobs:

Among nonelderly adults with Medicaid coverage—the group of enrollees most likely to be in the workforce—nearly 8 in 10 live in working families, and a majority are working themselves.

Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation also debunked the Trump’s administration’s myth of Medicaid folks not working during an interview with NPR in June 2017:

Well, we know that many of the people on Medicaid are already working, many of the adults who are able to go out and get a job, if they can.

But we also know that those jobs often do not come with health insurance benefits. And these are very low-income people who, even when they work, could probably not even afford the coverage if their employer offered it.

(Sources: The New York Times, Kaiser Family Foundation, NPR, Photo Credit: Kiran Foster/Flickr)

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