GOP states are working together on new legislation to ensure that Medicaid Programs reach those in need and is not misused.
So far, six states (Arkansas, Kentucky, Arizona, Maine, Wisconsin and Indiana) have completed drafting revised plans that modify Medicaid eligibility, so that those healthcare services reach those most in need – those with disabilities, and truly low incomes. Some states are also looking to add additional requirements and introducing drug testing for eligibility.
However, Judith Solomon, over at the liberal health policy Centers on Budget And Privacy Priorities is displeased with this move. Solomon warned legislators, “There are limits on what’s allowable, and tying eligibility to work or drug testing or some of these other things is not consistent with what should be allowed.”
Wisconsin is looking to screen all and test some applicants for drugs. Those who test positive for drugs would be required to submit to treatment, if they want to receive Medicaid coverage. For those that refuse to be screened or take a test will be made ineligible for Medicaid benefit. Moreover, the state argues that they would like to implement a 48-month max window on Medicaid eligibility; unless the person is working.
Yet another liberal health policy organization – Kids Forward – warned against the impact of “a lot of new red tape” that drug testing may create. This is probably the first instance that a liberal has expressed concern over the impact of overregulation and red tape.
Many states would like for Medicaid recipients to have some “skin in the game” and that is it important to looking to ways to monitor spending on Medicaid and revise the rules, as “Medicaid is Pac-Manning state budgets right now. It’s taking money away from education, transportation, in expansion and non-expansion states alike. It is eating their budgets,” said Josh Archambault, a senior fellow at the conservative Foundation for Government Accountability.
Work requirements “will have the result of cutting state Medicaid costs because fewer people will be on Medicaid,” said Deborah Bachrach, a partner at Manatt Health and former Medicaid Director of New York. Other changes are expected to include lowering the eligibility levels for medical coverage and a set time limit for being on the program,
Until now no state has received an approval for a waiver requiring people to work to be eligible for Medicaid. However, if and when approved by the Trump administration, it is believed by many experts think other states will soon be able to get similar requests approved more quickly.
“If and when Kentucky and Arizona get approval … you’ll see a bunch of other Republican states copycat,” stated Archambault.