An earlier post noted criticism from Arkansas groups on the new Arkansas rule to impose a work requirement for Medicaid coverage.
Now comes the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. It’s summary:
the Trump Administration’s approval today of Arkansas’ harsh Medicaid work requirement will likely set back the state’s considerable progress under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in increasing coverage and improving access to care, health, and financial stability for low-income Arkansans.
Beginning as soon as June, Arkansas will require all adults under age 50 covered through its “private option” Medicaid waiver to work or participate in work-related activities for 80 hours a month, unless they prove they are exempt.
Although almost 60 percent of Medicaid expansion enrollees in Arkansas already work, and over half of the rest are ill or have a disability, both workers and people who are supposed to be exempt from work requirements will likely lose coverage for several reasons:
For people with disabilities or other health problems that keep them from working 80 hours each month, exemptions will be hard to get and keep: they will have to prove they are exempt every two months.
Many working people will have trouble demonstrating compliance with the work requirement because of burdensome red tape, especially people without Internet access.
Many people’s work hours fluctuate from month to month and will sometimes fall below required thresholds, while others will be between jobs and seeking work.
Those failing to demonstrate they meet the requirement for three months during the year will lose coverage for the rest of the year and will have to reapply the next year.
The inevitable coverage gaps from Arkansas’ work requirements and coverage lockouts will worsen quality of health for those who need it most.