Trump is making sure Republicans get their wish: denying affordable health care to as many low-income people as possible.
Trump and Republicans in Congress tried their best last year to rip away health care from millions of families, only to be foiled by grassroots resistance and Democratic opposition. Unfortunately, that failure is not stopping the Trump administration from trying other tactics to ruin the American health care system.
A new report from Politico shows how Trump officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are working as fast as possible to approve waivers that would allow state governments to force Medicaid recipients to meet onerous work requirements.
Those work requirements are useless and counter-productive — and they could cause tens of thousands of low-income families to lose their health coverage.
Advocates fighting for the health and well-being of families call the changes "disastrous."
HHS is working with the Department of Justice on finalizing waivers allowing three Republican-led states — Arizona, Wisconsin, and Maine — to implement stringent work requirement for Medicaid recipients.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), nearly 80 percent of Medicaid recipients live in working families, and most recipients have a job. Of those who do not have a job, most report impediments, such as illness, disability, or caregiving responsibilities, as the reason for not working.
KFF further cautions:
While proponents of work requirements say such provisions aim to promote work for those who are not working, these policies could have negative implications on many who are working or exempt from the requirements. For example, coverage for working or exempt enrollees may be at risk if enrollees face administrative obstacles in verifying their work status or documenting an exemption.
Advocates also have no idea exactly how many people will be impacted by the three new waivers, since states are actively hiding that information.
Earlier this year, advocates were successful in a lawsuit against Kentucky's work requirements — in part, Politico notes, because the state was forced to admit that the scheme would cost nearly 100,000 Kentuckians their health care.
Since then, many states have refused to publicly release data about how many tens of thousands of primarily poor families will lose health insurance because of these GOP-led plans.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration clearly has no problem hiding that information from the public.
"The Trump administration seems intent on moving as quickly as possible to approve these harmful waivers which will clearly result in many more thousands of vulnerable people losing their Medicaid coverage," Joan Alker, who runs Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families, told Politico.
A Republican-led work requirement plan in Arkansas, approved earlier this year by the Trump administration, is also on course to rip health care away from more than 5,000 individuals.
In the meantime, Trump is working overtime to achieve that goal on his own — no matter the harm it causes families.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.