Ten states have requested and been granted permission from CMS to require certain able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work in exchange for benefits. In what might be a shocking surprise to some, the goal is to help individuals who receive Medicaid and other government based benefits such as SNAP be weaned off of the government aide. The point of the program is to help recipients become more independent and less dependent on government.
Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin are the first 10 states to require Medicaid beneficiaries give back for their benefits. While this might sound harsh, in reality the program is designed to make the individuals stand on their own two feet rather than lean on their local state for aide.
Individuals with disabilities, who are pregnant, or those with mental health conditions will be excluded from the work requirement. For participants who meet the requirements, their contribution to society will come in many different forms.
Career planning, job training, volunteering, and job support services will fit the requirements of earning the Medicaid benefit. Of course, actually working will also fit the requirement for those who are provided Medicaid benefits. CMS cites many different studies that show people who improve and enhance their skills to do something productive with their lives actually end up being happier. Those who are happier in their work, according to CMS Administrator Verma, “have higher earnings, a better quality of life … and improved health outcomes.”