Trump Administration deceptively cites academic research to justify Medicaid proposal
Posted May 10, 2018 in Press Releases
Policy Matters analysis exposes misinterpretations, contradictions
Earlier this year, the Trump Administration announced it would encourage states to seek waivers for Medicaid demonstration projects that would make it more difficult for millions of Americans to access health care. To justify their proposal, the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) references a body of research on health, employment and unemployment. The problem is, according to new analysis from Policy Matters Ohio, the agency deceptively cites many of the studies, misinterprets their findings, and fails to show how taking away someone’s health care will help them find a good job and lift them out of poverty.
So far, CMS has agreed to let Kentucky, Indiana, Arkansas and New Hampshire drop Medicaid coverage for those who fail to get enough hours of work or document exemption from the work requirement. Another 5 states – including Ohio - have asked CMS for permission to do the same. Ohio’s proposal would apply to all 700,000 people who benefitted from Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, even though most able-bodied Medicaid patients who can work already do. Many work in low-wage jobs with irregular hours and could end up failing to meet the work requirement despite being employed. Losing Medicaid harms people’s ability to find and maintain work. According to the state’s own survey, three-quarters of Medicaid expansion patients said having health care made it easier to look for work and hold down a job.
“Medicaid’s mission is to improve the health of Americans struggling to make ends meet,” said report author and Policy Matters Senior Project Director Wendy Patton. “Good health is a precondition for work, not a reward for it. Nothing in academic literature justifies CMS’s plan. In fact, in many cases, the research shows why this policy is flawed.”
Below is a sample of studies cited by CMS. The table summarizes the scope of the studies and how they fail to show that Medicaid work requirements will improve patients’ long-term health and employment.