The Trump administration says it will open the door for states to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients, a major shift that could affect millions of low-income people receiving benefits.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services calls it a response to requests from states to test work requirement programs.
“Medicaid is not something you should forever expect,” says Texas State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond. “It's a bridge until you find a livelihood that allows you to tap into the private marketplace for your health insurance.”
“If we promote the work requirement, what we're doing is promoting the idea that people move out of the welfare-type program related to health insurance and move into the more conventional private marketplace.”
Dr. Zerwas, an anesthesiologist, introduces similar legislation two sessions ago. He says there will of course be some exemptions.
“If there are people who have some condition or circumstance that precludes them from tapping into the job market, then we have to have some kind of exception for that, but I don't think that's going to be the majority of people,” he says.
CMMS says the work requirement would not apply to those with disabilities, the elderly, children, and pregnant women.