Medicaid work requirement could lead to deaths

Governor of Kentucky Matt Bevin won approval from the federal government on Jan. 12, 2018 to impose work requirements on certain Medicaid recipients. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Under a new Trump Administration policy, states can now impose work requirements on able-bodied Medicaid beneficiaries. But critics of the plan say it could lead to deaths among lower-income people who don’t meet the requirement and are pushed off the insurance rolls. Without insurance, they may delay or forego visits to the doctor because they can’t afford it.

In Kentucky — the first state to impose the new requirement — roughly 175,000 people could lose their benefits if they don’t work, get job training, or perform community service for at least 20 hours a week starting in July, according to a Jan. 16, 2018 New York Times article.

Cutting health insurance among lower-income people could be deadly, according to the article, which cited a 2012 study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health by Benjamin Sommers, associate professor of health policy and economics, Arnold Epstein, John H. Foster Professor of Health Policy and Management and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management, and former colleague Kate Baicker (now dean of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy). The Harvard Chan researchers found that Medicaid expansions in the past significantly reduced mortality—which suggests that Medicaid cuts would have the opposite effect.

Read the New York Times article: Making Medicaid a Tool for Moral Education May Let Some Die

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