On Thursday, the Trump administration made it easier for states to force Medicaid recipients to work more. Today, they already approved the first state seeking to take advantage of the new guidance: Kentucky.
The proposal, by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, will force poor adults to work 20 hours a week to retain benefits. But that’s not the only think Bevin wants to change to Medicaid in his state. He also proposed new mandated payments from enrollees, coverage lockouts, and a significant cut in coverage protection. Trump approved all of them—and 95,000 enrollees will be forced off the program, Kentucky estimates.
“Kentucky is leading the nation in this reform,” Bevin said at a press conference Friday. “It will soon become the standard and the norm in the United States of America, and America will be better for it.”
But it gets worse. If an enrollee kicked off of Medicaid wants to get back on it, they need to participate in a related activity for at least 80 hours in one month, or complete tests in health or financial literacy.
As many Democrats point out, a work requirement completely negates the very reason Medicaid exists—to help low-income Americans.
“Their contorted effort is to say is, you know what, people who are working are healthier,” said Leonardo Cuello of the National Health Law Program, an advocacy group weighing litigation to block the new requirements. “It’s not that work is making people healthy. It’s that you provide health care to people and they’re able to work.”
Kentucky will undoubtedly set a standard for the country as a prime example of what not to do.