“Wisconsin on Wednesday became the latest state to get approval from the Trump administration to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries.
Under the new rules, Medicaid recipients in the state will be required to work at least 80 hours a month to maintain eligibility. If they fail to do so for 48 aggregate months — any amount of time not working that adds up to four years — they will lose coverage for six months.
The state was also granted permission to charge premiums on beneficiaries and to lock people out of coverage if they fail to pay.
Wisconsin can now charge monthly premiums of up to $8, along with $8 co-payments for emergency room visits for problems that aren't considered emergencies. “Healthy behaviors” can reduce premiums.
In a statement, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma sounded a defiant tone, saying the administration will continue letting states impose work requirements.
“We will not retreat from this position,” Verma said. “Community engagement requirements in Medicaid are not a blunt instrument. This is a thoughtful and reasonable policy, and one that is rooted in compassion.”
Critics of work requirements say they are a way to punish poor people. Critics argue the requirements are only meant to kick people off Medicaid and save the state money.”