Ohio take note: New Medicaid requirements strip health care from 17,000 in Arkansas
Posted January 10, 2019 in Press Releases
A proposal submitted by Governor Kasich for federal approval would allow Ohio to take Medicaid coverage from people who can’t get 80 hours of work a month. A new report by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that similar policy has stripped nearly 17,000 Arkansas residents of health care since June.
CBPP will host a press call on the report today at 2 p.m. Register here.
So far, the number of Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries has dropped by 22 percent. The number of people losing coverage far exceeds the number Arkansas estimated to be neither working nor eligible for exemptions. That means working people and people who should be exempt (such as people with disabilities and other serious health needs) are losing coverage.
“Ohio can expect the same damage here,” said Wendy Patton, Senior Project Director for Policy Matters Ohio. “We estimate more than 300,000 Ohioans will lose access to health care under this harmful new eligibility policy.”
While some Arkansans were automatically exempt, more than half of those subject to the new requirement lost coverage because they didn’t know they had to report either their exemption or their work hours, didn’t know how to report, or lacked access to a computer to report.
In addition, low-wage working people enrolled in Medicaid often have jobs with volatile hours and no sick time or family leave, so they may not be able to get required monthly hours. Among working, low-income people subject to Medicaid work requirements, almost half would fail to meet an 80 hour-per-month requirement - like the Arkansas policy and the Ohio proposal - at least once over the course of a year.
“Almost two-thirds of working-age people in Ohio’s Medicaid program work. The rest are largely disabled or caregivers,” Patton said. “No design tweak will make this policy less harmful to low-wage workers and people with serious health conditions here in Ohio.”
Ohio submitted its Medicaid work requirement proposal to the federal government last year. While it’s under review by the Trump Administration, Governor-elect DeWine can scrap the proposal.
“The Arkansas work requirement isn’t promoting employment,” Patton said. “It is causing people with chronic conditions to lose coverage by making it harder to get medications and other health care they need to work. It will do the same in Ohio.