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  • Major Shift as Trump Opens Way for Medicaid Work Requirement  Associated Press by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar — In a major policy shift that could affect millions of low-income people, the Trump administration said Thursday it is offering a path for states that want to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said work and community involvement can make a positive difference in people’s lives and in their health. Still, the plan probably will face strong political opposition and even legal challenges over concerns that some low-income beneficiaries will lose coverage. The administration said 10 states have applied for waivers involving work requirements or community involvement. They are: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin. Advocates for low-income people say they expect Kentucky’s waiver to be approved shortly.
  • To Get Medicaid in Kentucky, Many Will Have to Work. Advocates for the Poor Say They Will Sue  New York Times by Abby Goodnough — Kentucky will be the first state to require many of its Medicaid recipients to work or face losing their benefits after the Trump administration approved its plan on Friday.  Advocates for the poor threatened lawsuits, while Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, celebrated the approval as "the most transformational entitlement reform that has been seen in a quarter of a century." The plan calls for most Medicaid recipients who are not disabled and aged 19 to 64 to work at least 20 hours a week, beginning in July. In addition to paid jobs, they could meet the requirement through volunteer work, job training, searching for a job, taking classes or caring for someone elderly or disabled.

  • CMS Maintains Medicaid Work Requirements Can Withstand Legal Challenges Modern Healthcare by Matthew Weinstock and Virgil Dickson — The CMS is confident that its decision to approve states' Medicaid work requirement waivers can withstand any litigation challenging the policy shift. Hours after the guidance's release, Families USA announced it was working closely with the National Health Law Program and others to support legal challenges against the new policy if the CMS actually approves these waivers. However, during a call with reporters Thursday, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said she believes that the law is on the agency's side. "The 1115 [statute] gives broad authority to the secretary to approve state experiments and programs that promote the objectives of the Medicaid program," Verma said. She added there are studies that show the benefits employment has on a person's health.

  • In States That Didn't Expand Medicaid, Hospital Closures Have Spiked  Stat by Casey Ross — In recent years Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion has created a financial fault line in American health care. Hospitals in states that enacted the expansion got a wave of newly insured patients, while those in states that rejected it were left with large numbers of uninsured individuals. A new study released Monday reports a crucial consequence of that divide: Nonexpansion states have suffered a significant increase in hospital closures. States that expanded benefits, on the other hand, saw their rate of closures decline.  The study, published in Health Affairs, is the first to clearly document the extent of that divergence across the country. 

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