Mar 5, 2018

CMS punts on controversial plan to roll back Medicaid expansion

CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Federal health officials approved a new set of Medicaid work requirements today — this time in Arkansas — but punted on the state’s more aggressive proposal to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has made clear that it will help states pare back their Medicaid programs. But the split decision today in Arkansas suggests there may be limits to how far it’s able or willing to go.

The details: The ACA offered states generous federal funding if they expanded their Medicaid programs to cover all residents with an income below 138% of the federal poverty limit.

  • Arkansas chose to expand, but now wants to roll back eligibility to 100% of the poverty limit — while keeping the enhanced federal funding.
  • The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did not make a decision about that proposal today, even as it announced it had approved Arkansas’ request to add a work requirement to its Medicaid program.
  • Arkansas is the third state to win approval for work requirements, following Kentucky and Indiana.
  • Arkansans who don’t meet the new work requirements for three months will be locked out of the program for the rest of the calendar year. That’s the longest lockout period CMS has approved.

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President Trump threatened via Twitter early Friday to send the national guard to Minneapolis following three days of massive demonstrations and unrest in the city over George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody this week.

Details: "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right," Trump tweeted after a police station was torched by some protesters.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters cheer as the Third Police Precinct burns behind them on in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Cheering protesters set a Minneapolis police station on fire Thursday night in the third night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in the city, per AP.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week, as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.