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State seeks work requirements for expanded Medicaid

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The state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is seeking a waiver from the federal government to require recipients of expanded Medicaid coverage to work or go to school.

The proposed rule from DHHS specifically requires participants to work, attend a training program, or attend school for at least 20 hours per week. There are exceptions for people with disabilities, people participating in a drug court program, and parents.

When the New Hampshire Legislature reauthorized its expanded Medicaid program last year, it included the work requirement. The Obama administration rejected that requirement because it "could undermine access, efficiency, and quality of care provided to Medicaid beneficiaries and [does] not support the objectives of the Medicaid program." 

No welfare for able-bodied adults

Supporters believe the Trump administration might be more open to a work requirement. They argue it will help participants leave poverty and become financially independent, which is associated with better health. Supporters also argue that a work requirement will ensure the state is not providing welfare for able-bodied adults.

An unnecessary burden on low income adults

Opponents of the work requirement note that most of the original participants in New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program have already disenrolled, most because they started earning too much money to qualify. This shows that participants are already actively seeking better work. A work requirement would just add burdensome and expensive bureaucracy. 

DHHS will host two public hearings on the proposed work requirement, September 14 in Manchester and September 21 in Concord. Citizens can also email comments to Visit the DHHS website for more information



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