Data Raises Concerns About the Impact of Medicaid Work Requirements

A brief published by the Commonwealth Fund predicts the impact on adult Medicaid beneficiaries in Kentucky if work requirements go into effect. The authors estimate that as many as 118,000 adults enrolled in Medicaid would either become uninsured for an extended period of time or experience a gap in insurance over a two-year period.

Kentucky has received approval for work requirements, subject to a legal challenge. Led by Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., vice president for Health Care Coverage and Access program at The Commonwealth Fund, the new research projects the potential effects of work requirements on insurance coverage based on data for a national cohort of nondisabled adults in the federal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

“The research provides important data to buttress the argument that work requirements are not a policy for improving services, but are instead counter to the intent of Medicaid waivers!” says Janet Heinrich, DrPH, RN, FAAN, a research professor at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.  Prior to joining the faculty at GWU, Heinrich served as senior advisor at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

“Law suits will prove that work requirements are deterrent to improving health care for vulnerable populations,” Heinrich predicts.

In addition to Collins, the authors of “The Potential Implications of Work Requirements for the Insurance Coverage of Medicaid Beneficiaries: The Case of Kentucky” are Sherry Glied, Ph.D., dean of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, and Adlan Jackson, a junior research scientist at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service of New York University.