New Medicaid Work Requirements Will Deny More Care

Nov 20, 2017

Every day seems to bring another way for the current administration to deny healthcare to people in need. The latest policy shift toward “less is more” care involves applying a work requirement to Medicaid recipients. The CMA Administrator, Seema Verma, has proposed that in order to receive Medicaid benefits, those able must do “community engagement.” That’s policy-speak for forcing someone to work—possibly unpaid—or lose their healthcare coverage. Ignoring the evidence that 59% of able-bodied people on Medicaid already work, this looks like a so-called solution to a non-problem.

We cannot let our outrage fade away under the daily onslaught of provocative policy proposals. As a Fellow of the Sanders Institute and the Director of Public Policy at National Nurses United, I feel it is important to highlight this issue and challenge the conservative dogma that would deny people the healthcare they need simply because they do not fulfill an onerous and unrelated work requirement.

Medicaid provides a safety net to the most vulnerable and poor in our society. Imposing new barriers to care is inhuman, and reflects not “hope” as Administrator Verma professes, but cynicism: it scapegoats low-income people to save money for state and federal budgets.

New Medicaid Work Requirements Will Deny More Care

In the fight over ACA repeal, Medicaid has achieved a new-found popularity. If the Administration wants to use Medicaid as a social engineering experiment to punish the poor, it’s up to us to stop them. Again.

Thank you for staying engaged,

Michael Lighty
Fellow, The Sanders Institute