Work Requirement for Medicaid? Mass. Says, “No Thanks”

Last Thursday morning the Trump Administration announced it would allow state Medicaid programs to seek a Medicaid waiver that would allow states to require certain Medicaid beneficiaries to be either working, volunteering, or preparing to work as a requirement to receiving Medicaid.

In a letter to  state Medicaid directors, CMS Deputy Administrator and Director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Brian Neale, wrote, “CMS will support state efforts to test incentives that make participation in work or other community engagement a requirement for continued Medicaid eligibility or coverage for certain adult Medicaid beneficiaries.”

The option to seek a CMS-approved work requirement would apply to “non-elderly, non-pregnant adult Medicaid beneficiaries who are eligible for Medicaid on a basis other than disability.”  States would also have to create exemptions for those “medically frail” or with “acute medical conditions.” CMS also noted that individuals with opioid addiction and other substance abuse disorders would need access to Medicaid coverage and treatment. CMS reported that 10 states, including New Hampshire and Maine, are seeking a work requirement. 

By noon, the Baker Administration issued a statement to the State House News Service, stating, “The guidance was just released and we will assess accordingly as we do with any guidance, however the administration does not support applying work requirements to the MassHealth program. The Baker-Polito Administration is proud that Massachusetts remains a national leader in access to healthcare.”