January 12, 2018

Trump ups his war against Medicaid

Talk Poverty- The Trump administration unveiled guidelines that allow states to take Medicaid away from people who can’t find jobs—for the first time in the program’s 50-year history. According to a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to state Medicaid directors, states will now be allowed to strip Medicaid coverage away from most working-age people if they aren’t working or participating in qualifying work activities for a set number of hours per week.

New analysis from the Center for American Progress estimates that as many as 6.3 million people could be at risk of losing Medicaid under this new policy.

While the policy might sound reasonable at first blush, upon closer inspection it’s just another strategy for ripping health insurance away from the people who need it most—unemployed and underemployed workers struggling to make ends meet.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 25 million working-age people were covered by Medicaid in 2016. Most—roughly 60 percent—were working themselves, and nearly 80 percent lived in working families. And of those not currently working, 6 percent were looking for work, 30 percent reported caregiver obligations, 15 percent were in school, 9 percent were retired, and just over one-third reported facing health problems. It’s just another strategy for ripping health insurance away from the people who need it most

Taking away these people’s health insurance isn’t just cruel; it’s wildly counterproductive. Study after study shows that having health insurance is associated not only with better health but also with increased work capacity, which translates into higher wages and earnings. Medicaid plays a central role in making it possible for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions to work, as it is the nation’s largest provider of home- and community-based services such as personal attendant care.

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