Mississippi proposing Medicaid work requirement - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi proposing Medicaid work requirement

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Thousands of Mississippi Medicaid recipients may be facing new job requirements if a proposal is approved by the feds. The Trump administration issued guidance to states Thursday regarding how to impose a Medicaid work requirement.

Mississippi has been in the early stages of moving towards a Medicaid work requirement. Governor Bryant even mentioned the proposal in Tuesday's State of the State address.

"As you know, I have requested a workforce requirement for able-bodied adults from the Center of Medicaid and Medicare Services," said Governor Bryant.

The requirement could be accomplished in different ways like working 20 hours a week, volunteering with certain agencies, or going to alcohol or drug abuse treatment. Concerns were voiced about the proposal during two public hearings last November. Several are still concerned about the intentions.

"It doesn't make any sense," said Rims Barber with the Mississippi Human Services Coalition. "People need health care and whether you're working or not shouldn't be a criteria. It seems the only reason they're putting this in is to reduce the number of people on Medicaid. Reduce the cost to the state."

"It's an answer to a problem that does not exist in this State," added Mississippi Health Advocacy Program Executive Director Roy Mitchell.

Opponents say the majority of those Medicaid recipients who are able to work are already doing so. But Governor Bryant took this position during his State of the State address.

"This is not, as some would have you believe, a punitive action aimed at recipients," said Governor Bryant. "It will actually help this population reap the rewards of a good job, and one day receive health care coverage from their employer, not the state or federal government."

That's a sticking point for those who oppose the work requirement.

"Moving people into work that may or may not exist," added Mitchell. "And those jobs? Let's look at those jobs. How many of those jobs actually provide health care? It really begs reality here."

The State submitted the waiver to the feds on December 14 and it's currently under review.

The Division of Medicaid tells me they've estimated 15,000-20,000  individuals could be eligible for workforce training activities under the waiver if it's approved.Some organizations say they expect lawsuits will be filed in the wake of waiver approvals.

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