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Verma wants to add new requirements for "working age, able-bodied adults.” Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

Seema Verma, the federal Medicare and Medicaid administrator, made clear in a speech this morning that the Trump administration intends to let states impose new requirements, including work requirements, on some Medicaid recipients. Using Medicaid "as a vehicle to serve working age, able-bodied adults does not make sense," Verma said.

Why it matters: Medicaid is the largest insurance program in the country. Verma has made clear she intends to roll back the program's ambitions — and she's begun laying out exactly how she aims to get there.

The details: Verma said her office "will approve proposals that promote community engagement activities" — which she defined as working, receiving job training, going to school or volunteering — as a requirement for able-bodied adults to receive Medicaid benefits.

  • By law, when the federal Medicaid office evaluates a state's proposed Medicaid waiver, it's required to consider whether those changes would "assist in promoting the objectives" of the Medicaid program.
  • The Obama administration drew a hard line against work requirements, saying they would not further Medicaid's objective of providing health insurance for poor people.
  • "Believing that community engagement requirements do not support or promote the objectives of Medicaid is a tragic example of the soft bigotry of low expectations consistently espoused by the prior administration. Those days are over," Verma said today.

Go deeper

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.

Biden condemns Russian aggression on 7th anniversary of Crimea annexation

Putin giving a speech in Sevastapol, Crimea, in 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Ukraine and vowed to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in a statement on Friday, the 7th anniversary of Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Why it matters: The statement reflects the aggressive approach Biden is taking to Russia, which he classified on the campaign trail as an "opponent" and "the biggest threat" to U.S. security and alliances.