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The healthcare environment has been on a giant roller coaster ride since President Trump has taken office, and the ride does not seem to be ending any time soon. President Trump’s foreign and domestic policy approach has been similar to the Tasmanian Devil in the Looney Toons cartoons of yesteryear. His policies come through like a tornado and leave nothing but confusion and destruction in its wake. A prime example would be his flip flopping stance on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. One moment he is speaking with compassion about working on finding a pathway to citizenship for them. The next moment he is throwing the Democrat and Republican lawmakers under the bus and deems that the DACA recipients are doomed. The other domestic policy that he seems to be hellbent on changing is the requirements for Medicaid.

Kentucky will be one of the first states to tie Medicaid benefits directly to an individual’s willingness or ability to work. The change to the Medicaid qualification requirement will have a ripple effect across the healthcare insurance industry, with many other states examining qualification requirements. Adam Beam from the Chicago Tribune  announced that “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the approval on Friday. The change will require adults between the ages of 19 and 64 to complete 80 hours per month of “community engagement” to keep their coverage. That includes getting a job, going to school, taking a job training course or community service.” This change in the policy is only targeted towards “able-bodied” adults. So the rumours and the arguments that were formed around it affecting everyone on Medicaid are not valid.  One concern I have seen brought up is that a vast number of recipients are just shy of reaching the enrollment age of 65 for Medicare. Making an elderly person of 62ish work for Medicaid benefits would be viewed as cruel, it smacks of bad optics for every lawmaker involved in this change of policy.

Requirements for Medicaid from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

“You may qualify for free or low-cost care through Medicaid based on income and family size. In all states, Medicaid provides health coverage for some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. In some states the program covers all low-income adults below a certain income level.”

A total of nine states are now considering following Kentucky’s plan, they are Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. Expect many more in the upcoming months. Kentucky was just the first domino to fall. For a more detailed look at the statistical breakdown of Medicaid recipients look at the Kaiser Family report. They provide an interesting data on the work breakdown of Medicaid enrollees.