Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls for Medicaid work restrictions
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced at a news conference Wednesday that she will ask the federal government for a waiver so Arkansas can require Medicaid recipients to work, volunteer or enroll in classes to receive benefits.
State of play: Arkansas was the first state to implement work requirements for the coverage in mid-2018, when the Trump administration allowed states to set individual restrictions.
- It's estimated that by the time those requirements were blocked by a federal judge in 2019, 18,000 residents had lost coverage.
Why it matters: Medicaid provides medical services to eligible people with limited income.
- Just under a million Arkansans were covered by Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program in 2021. That's nearly one-third of the state's population.
Details: If Sanders' waiver request is approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it will apply to about 300,000 able-bodied people in the state enrolled in ARHOME, which uses Medicaid money to buy private insurance, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
Of note: Only eleven states have have not expanded Medicaid eligibility.
- The state Legislature is considering a bill that would require Medicaid to cover postpartum mothers for a full year after giving birth. That measure will be reviewed in committee Thursday.
Zoom out: South Dakota's Legislature last month advanced a proposed constitutional amendment to try and force people on Medicaid to work. It's been referred to the state's Senate committee for review.
What we're watching: Arkansas' Department of Human Services will publish a draft Medicaid waiver amendment on April 23. It will be open for public comment for 30 days.
Meanwhile, the Center for Children and Families within the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute released a report Wednesday warning that millions of children are at risk of losing insurance.
- A pandemic-era policy increased federal contributions to Medicaid programs while requiring states to maintain continuous coverage for beneficiaries.
- More than half the nation's children are currently covered by the program, the center estimates.
Threat level: The matching policy will start to gradually lift beginning April 1 and will be completely eliminated by Dec. 31.
- The center calls for state leaders to do everything possible to protect children from "getting caught up in red tape and losing their health coverage."
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that 11 states have not expanded Medicaid eligibility. Arkansas has adopted the expansion.
More NW Arkansas stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios NW Arkansas.