Trump administration grants Wisconsin plan to make residents work for Medicaid

The Trump administration Wednesday granted Wisconsin's request to impose work requirements in its Medicaid p...

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 9:09 AM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 9:09 AM

The Trump administration Wednesday granted Wisconsin's request to impose work requirements in its Medicaid program -- the first such approval for a state that has not fully expanded Medicaid.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who is battling to keep his job, hailed the move. Health care has become a central focus of the race, with Walker promising to protect those with pre-existing conditions even as he pushed for work requirements and supported a lawsuit that seeks to invalidate Obamacare.

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"We're removing barriers to work to help Wisconsinites transition from government dependence to true independence!" he tweeted.

The move also comes as the administration is defending two other waiver approvals in court. A US district judge voided federal approval of work requirements in Kentucky in June, just days before the mandate was set to begin. And three consumer groups filed suit in August to halt the requirement that's already gone into effect in Arkansas, where more than 8,000 low-income residents lost their coverage in the first few months.

Administration officials, however, maintain that these approvals are rooted in compassion and help Americans achieve self-sufficiency -- a long-held conservative view when it comes to lifting people out of poverty. Seema Verma, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator, said that she recognizes that some people disagree with work requirements, but the agency feels that local policy makers should craft ways to help their communities.

"We will not retreat from this position," said Verma, noting that Wisconsin's unemployment rate has hovered around 3% for a year. "What this means is that there are real, life-changing opportunities available to help lift individuals out of the shadows of opportunity and into its light."

Indiana and New Hampshire have also received permission to impose work requirements, though those programs have yet to begin. At least seven other states are seeking the nod from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Some have not expanded Medicaid at all, meaning only the poorest residents -- such as parents making less than $10,000 a year -- even qualify for coverage.

In Wisconsin, the new mandate covers 178,000 childless adults under age 50 with incomes below the poverty level. They will have to spend at least 20 hours a week working, going through job training, volunteering or participating in other qualifying activities to retain their health benefits. The disabled, medically frail and primary givers are exempt.

Recipients will have 48 months to come into compliance before they get locked out of the program and lose medical benefits for at least six months. In her approval letter, Verma acknowledged that some beneficiaries may lose coverage for failing to meet the new rules.

These adults also will have to complete a health risk assessment when they apply for Medicaid. The state will be allowed to vary premiums based on how they answer the assessment and whether they avoid behaviors that worsen their health, such as failing to exercise, maintain a healthy body weight or wear a seat belt, as well as drinking excessively and using drugs or tobacco.

Those who make between 50% and 100% of the federal poverty level will have to pay an $8 monthly premium. Those who fail to pay will be locked out for up to six months, but recipients who actively manage certain behaviors can have their premiums reduced by up to half.

The administration did not approve Wisconsin's request to test Medicaid beneficiaries for drug use.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312521

Reported Deaths: 5498
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion42641849
Lake27152455
Allen18010298
Elkhart17177221
St. Joseph16799229
Hamilton13011167
Vanderburgh9751120
Tippecanoe858727
Porter827986
Johnson6389165
Hendricks6098157
Vigo608384
Monroe536750
Clark515077
Madison5060122
Delaware4905103
LaPorte465595
Kosciusko462339
Howard344277
Warrick325672
Bartholomew316863
Floyd316277
Wayne307770
Cass299931
Marshall299144
Grant272550
Noble255046
Hancock253852
Henry247537
Boone244554
Dubois237931
Dearborn219030
Jackson215534
Morgan210843
Knox187819
Gibson186925
Shelby182155
Clinton180321
DeKalb177831
Lawrence177648
Adams168222
Miami162614
Wabash162521
Daviess156443
Fayette149234
Steuben147113
Jasper144412
Harrison142924
LaGrange142630
Montgomery142127
Whitley137114
Ripley132115
Huntington127410
Decatur126143
Putnam124627
Randolph124519
Wells124429
White123222
Clay122523
Posey122116
Jefferson118816
Scott109020
Greene102653
Jay99013
Sullivan96416
Starke92021
Jennings85314
Fulton84518
Spencer8378
Perry82521
Fountain7798
Washington7527
Franklin69927
Carroll68613
Orange67328
Vermillion6243
Owen6087
Tipton57627
Parke5706
Newton56312
Rush5438
Blackford53412
Pike50919
Pulaski39515
Martin3585
Brown3424
Benton3402
Crawford2941
Union2702
Switzerland2575
Warren2382
Ohio2317
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 382743

Reported Deaths: 6274
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin51161671
Cuyahoga37222743
Hamilton30493372
Montgomery20518236
Butler15199148
Lucas14566417
Summit13933327
Stark9193206
Warren841976
Mahoning7530300
Lake710067
Lorain6690106
Clermont593651
Delaware572537
Licking564577
Trumbull5584147
Fairfield554464
Greene538066
Clark5218101
Allen494989
Marion476759
Medina471657
Wood4598107
Miami437568
Pickaway404048
Portage358972
Columbiana357698
Tuscarawas342667
Richland328539
Wayne327394
Mercer296047
Muskingum252510
Hancock245940
Ross244559
Auglaize236435
Darke232560
Erie230268
Putnam229449
Ashtabula228354
Geauga211851
Scioto200616
Union19668
Shelby194017
Lawrence193039
Athens19134
Seneca182919
Belmont170229
Madison163119
Sandusky157729
Preble156521
Huron155519
Defiance144823
Holmes140439
Logan133517
Knox131718
Fulton128726
Jefferson128613
Crawford126817
Washington125227
Ottawa124530
Clinton109115
Williams10799
Ashland107825
Highland103718
Brown10135
Henry101323
Hardin99719
Champaign9825
Van Wert97318
Jackson96212
Fayette92717
Morrow9202
Guernsey89314
Coshocton85215
Perry82912
Adams80313
Pike7661
Gallia76513
Wyandot73217
Paulding66511
Hocking64516
Noble62224
Carroll48810
Meigs39612
Monroe32321
Morgan2685
Vinton2246
Harrison2193
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