Alice Ollstein writes in Talking Points Memo about the many flaws in the politically popular but punitive new work requirement Arkansas has imposed on many of those covered by the Medicaid expansion created by Obamacare.
Starting Tuesday, Arkansans on Medicaid have to prove that they’ve worked 80 hours over the previous month or that they qualify for an exemption. If they fail to do so, they’ll be booted from the rolls after three months. Health care advocates in the state say they expect thousands of low-income people to lose coverage — both those who can’t find work and those who can’t navigate the state’s online-only system for documenting their hours. Health groups are also sounding the alarm about the paltry funding Arkansas has reserved for implementing the program — a tiny fraction of what other states are spending to put Medicaid work requirements in place.
Many of the able-bodied adults covered by the rule DO work, but they can’t always count on a steady 80 hours a month, particularly seasonal agriculture workers. Home Internet access in Arkansas is worse than every state except, barely, Mississippi. Many of the poor live in rural areas without transportation to places with computers.
And there’s this:
Arkansas has also budgeted 1 million in new spending to implement the massive new program, educate people about it, verify people's work hours, etc. In contrast, Kentucky is budgeting **$190 million** https://t.co/pvAN6ASFOI
— Alice Ollstein (@AliceOllstein) June 5, 2018
Arkansas WILL, however, pass out 10s of millions in corporate welfare to Chinese communists. Obamacare was too successful in providing health coverage for working poor in Arkansas. The governor and legislature are now hell-bent on taking some of it back.
But, hey. We made history:
This week, Arkansas becomes the first state in the nation, and in the nation’s history, to require its non-disabled adult Medicaid expansion population to work or volunteer 80 hours a month to maintain their health care benefits.
Legislators need not prove they actually worked to qualify for the gold-plated state insurance plan they and their family members enjoy.