Wyden, Pallone Warn Trump Administration against Moving Forward on Harmful Medicaid Waivers
The Ranking Democratic Members of the House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over Medicaid – Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) – wrote to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to urge that he deny certain Medicaid waivers under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act. They argue that the Secretary does not have the legal authority to grant waivers that would reduce the number of people eligible to receive Medicaid – as would those sought by Kentucky, Mississippi, and some other states – since such waivers would undermine the purposes of the Medicaid program.
Mississippi to Test Limits of Medicaid Work Requirements
Mississippi is the first “non-expansion” state to apply for a waiver to establish work requirements. Thus, the impact of the waiver would be on the “traditional” adult Medicaid population, i.e., parents and other caretakers. Under the waiver proposal, beneficiaries meeting the work requirements and earning minimum wage would earn too much to maintain Medicaid eligibility. Therefore, they would lose coverage whether they work or not. A group of 12 Democratic House members, led by Mississippi’s Rep. Bennie Thompson, wrote to Secretary Azar to urge that he deny the Mississippi waiver. The letter cites studies indicating African American women would be “massively overrepresented among the affected families.” African Americans would constitute 74 percent of those affected; 91 percent of those affected would be women.
Kentucky: The second public-comment period closed on August 18; 11,700+ comments were submitted. Comments can be viewed here.
Mississippi: The second public-comment period ended on August 18; more than 330+ comments were submitted. Comments can be viewed here.
New Hampshire — OPEN FOR COMMENT UNTIL SEPT. 2:
New Hampshire seeks to: 1) provide beneficiaries’ healthcare through the State’s managed care delivery system rather than the current Premium Assistance Program; 2) eliminate retroactive coverage to Medicaid beneficiaries; 3) require documentation of citizenship and residency to determine Medicaid eligibility; and 4) apply an asset test to the Medicaid expansion population.
State-Level Comment Periods
Several states are currently taking comments on their waiver proposals to establish Medicaid work requirements. Alabama is providing a second comment period.
- Alabama Medicaid Workforce Initiative– comments are due August 30. (See second paragraph of Public Notice for submission details.)
- July 31, 2018, revised application
- Oklahoma Soonercare– comments are due September 3.