(Reuters Health)—States that require adults on Medicaid to work a set number of hours to get benefits may find many people lose coverage because behavioral health conditions and other chronic health problems make it hard for them to work, a U.S. study suggests.
Medicaid, a joint federal and state health program for the poor, allows states to seek waivers from the federal government to create work requirements. As of February 2019, six states had received approval for work requirement waivers, eight state programs were awaiting approval and one state waiver was facing legal challenges in court, researchers reported April 1 online in Health Affairs.1
Proponents of Medicaid work requirements maintain that benefits are only meant to be temporary and that employment will help people move out of poverty. Opponents argue that cutting off benefits for people too sick to work prevents them from getting healthy enough to hold down jobs.
“It’s well known that Medicaid enrollees overall have higher burden of physical and mental health problems than the general population,” said study co-author Brendan Saloner, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore.| | | Next → | Single Page