Alabama seeks work requirement for some able-bodied Medicaid recipients

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Unemployment has been shown to have a negative impact on physical and mental health outcomes. Which is why in January, Gov. Kay Ivey and state Medicaid officials revealed the plan become the newest state to institute a work requirement for some Medicaid recipients.

On Thursday, that plan took a step forward when Ivey’s office announced the state will formally seek permission from the federal government to make that change to its Medicaid program.

The proposal would only apple to “able-bodied” Parent or Caretaker Relative (POCR) recipients — with exemptions being made for people with disabilities, anyone who pregnant or receiving post-partum care, anyone required to care for a disabled child or adult, among others — that will  require unemployed or underemployed adults to become gainfully employed, or participate in training opportunities to enhance their potential for full employment.

Alabama Medicaid believes this change will put Alabamians on a path to better health outcomes.

According to the proposal, proposed work requirement would impact nearly 74,000 of the state’s 1 million Medicaid recipients.

As required by federal regulation, Medicaid is now opening a formal 30 day comment period. A copy of the draft Demonstration proposal will also be available upon request for public review at each county office of the Department of Human Resources and the State Office of the Alabama Medicaid Agency. Additionally, two opportunities for public comment will be held at the following locations:

  • March 5, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.
    Alabama Industrial Development and Training (AIDT) Auditorium
    One Technology Court
    Montgomery, Ala. 36116
  • March 6, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.
    Hoover Public Library
    200 Municipal Drive
    Hoover, Ala. 35216

Critics contend the work requirements are based on falsehoods and vilify those who are on Medicaid.

“We will not improve the health of people in our state, nor will we improve the state’s economy, by forcing people to work when they are not healthy,” said Samuel Brooke, Deputy Legal Director, Economic Justice Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). “This proposal would unnecessarily increase the burdens of the working poor, and end up costing the state more money by cutting people from the Medicaid rolls and forcing them and their families to use emergency rooms – subsidized by taxpayers – for routine health services.”