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Trump Administration Paves Way For Ohio's Medicaid Work Requirement

Pablo Martinez
Associated Press

The Trump Administration is clearing the way for states to attach work requirements for Medicaid, an announcement that sparked outrage among health care advocates. The decision may mean some changes for the Ohio's Medicaid program.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released new guidelines that allow states to require "able-bodied" Medicaid recipients to work in order to get their health care coverage.

The state’s Medicaid department is already in the process of applying for a waiver to add work requirements, which was part of the budget passed last year. The office plans to take a close look at how their waiver can align with the new federal guidelines. 

"Under the rules, states can require Medicaid beneficiaries to work, volunteer or participate in job training," reports NPR. "People who are elderly or disabled, and pregnant women and children, would be excluded."

Republican state Sen. Bill Coley defended Ohio's work requirement, saying people who are able bodied and not students should get a job so they can support themselves.

Steve Wagner with the Universal Health Care Action Network says there are many reasons why Medicaid beneficiaries may be unemployed, but being unmotivated is not at the top of the list.

"This is creating an impediment to people who might’ve lost their job and in fact need help getting work, not an extra requirement that keeps them from getting the needed medical care that keeps them healthy," Wagner says.