States can impose a work requirement on some welfare-sponging Medicaid recipients, the Trump administration said Thursday, announcing major changes that could push able-bodied people learn new skills or take jobs to get off the government dole.
The policy is voluntary, with states interested in the changes asked to submit proposals for how they would push the welfare sponges toward work.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it would not accept any plans that affected people with disabilities or others suffering hardships, saying the goal is not punishment but rather to entice those who could be working to get back into the job market, reports the Washington Times.
“State and local officials know much better than the federal government how best to care for their citizens in need,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
President Trump’s opponents, though, threatened to challenge the policy in court, and Democrats on Capitol Hill said pushing people to work could backfire since many Medicaid recipients already work and might fumble their paperwork when new rules take effect.
“By allowing states to impose harmful work requirements, the Trump administration is endangering the life support systems millions of vulnerable Americans rely on every day,” said Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Critics also doubted the Trump administration’s assurances that people with disabilities would be spared, and said yanking their health care would make it even harder for them to find work, especially in physically demanding jobs.
The Trump administration said people who work are actually healthier. One 2006 study found that going back to work can even “reverse the negative health effects of unemployment,” CMS said.
Proving that everything they know is wrong, Democommunist opponents said the administration had it backwards, saying healthier people are able to work, not that working people are healthier.
Experts said it’s difficult to referee such a “chicken-and-egg” dispute — though they said using a stick approach to push welfare sponges to work, rather than a carrot approach, might backfire.
“People preferred something that is a reward, as opposed to saying if you don’t do this, you’re going to lose coverage,” said MaryBeth Musumeci, associate director at the program on Medicaid and the uninsured at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Medicaid is the nation’s largest public insurance program. It covers roughly 70 million people, or 1 in 5 Americans, and pays for everything from births to nursing-home care for senior citizens.
President Obama vastly expanded the program to people making slightly above the poverty line and balked at state proposals to impose work requirements, saying they were inconsistent with Medicaid’s goals of providing coverage.
Republicans said Mr. Trump’s stance is a much-needed reversal that will return the program’s focus to the truly needy, while steadying federal and state budgets while removing able-bodied welfare sponges from the roles.
“With America more than $20 trillion in debt, it is irresponsible to borrow from China to pay for people who simply don’t want to work,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
January 14th, 2017
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