CMS Should Reauthorize Kentucky’s Medicaid Waiver
In June, a federal judge blocked Kentucky’s Medicaid work requirement, which would require able-bodied adults in Medicaid to work, train, or volunteer on a part-time basis in order to receive benefits. As the first state to win approval for a Medicaid work requirement waiver, Kentucky has been at the forefront of efforts to restore welfare to its original purpose as a temporary safety net for the truly needy and move able-bodied adults from welfare to work.
The Kentucky waiver features:
- a strong work requirement
- a first-of-its-kind six-month ban on enrollees who commit welfare fraud
- the elimination of retroactive eligibility, eliminating loopholes for expansion enrollees bringing past medical bills to the table
Work requirements have been proven to be successful in assisting individuals and families attain independence in other welfare programs. Research finds that those leaving welfare after work requirements were implemented in other states found work in more than 600 different industries, saw their incomes more than double on average, and that higher wages more than offset lost welfare benefits, leaving them financially better off.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is now seeking public comment on re-approval for Kentucky’s waiver. Tell CMS to keep the momentum for welfare reform going by re-approving reforms in Kentucky so they can happen elsewhere too.
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“I write in support of Kentucky’s Medicaid work requirement waiver and urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to re-affirm the state’s waiver. Medicaid was intended to serve as a service for the truly needy, but in its current form, the system has become a dependency trap for able-bodied adults, most of whom are not working at all. According to state data, 52 percent of Medicaid expansion enrollees report no earned income. One of Medicaid’s core statutory objectives is to help low-income families and individuals attain capability for independence, but without a work requirement in place, the program isn’t achieving this goal. CMS must re-affirm Kentucky’s work requirement waiver to restore Medicaid to its original intent and move able-bodied adults off the sidelines and back to work.”