The Wall Street Journal: Behind the Split Over Linking Medicaid Coverage to Work Requirements

The Wall Street Journal: Behind the Split Over Linking Medicaid Coverage to Work Requirements

By Drew Altman

In Utah, Indiana, Arkansas, and several other states, conservative governors or legislatures want to make work requirements for newly covered beneficiaries a condition of expanding their Medicaid programs. Partly, this is the latest strategy by red-state governors and legislators seeking political cover to expand Medicaid in anti-Obamacare states where Republicans have clear legislative majorities. Expansion would bring billions of new federal dollars to help cover uninsured residents. So far the administration has opposed these efforts, saying work requirements are inconsistent with the purposes of Medicaid, and the National Health Law Program says it is not permissible to impose work requirements on people who get coverage under Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansions.

But the disagreement over tying work requirements to Medicaid expansion goes much deeper than partisan politics or legal interpretations of what the Medicaid statute allows.

These conservative governors and legislators see Medicaid as a welfare benefit that can reasonably be tied to requiring able-bodied people to work or look for or train for a job, just as welfare payments were tied to such requirements. Read the full article here. »

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