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Trump Administration Round-Up: Medicaid Work Requirements & Opioid Inaction

Investigating Trump’s (lack of) Response to the Opioid Crisis
Last week, 19 Democratic senators sent a letter requesting the Government Accountability Office officially investigate the Trump administration’s inaction in addressing the opioid crisis. While the Public Health Emergency Declaration that President Trump issued in October was recently renewed for another 90 days, the administration has not pursued new funding for the crisis and once again is primed to propose a 95 percent cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

New Austerity Measures at HUD
A draft budget document obtained by journalists this week reveals that the Trump administration may impose work requirements and rent increases on public housing residents. This latest attack on federal assistance by the Trump administration has not been confirmed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which referred inquiries to the Office of Management and Budget. HUD spokesperson Brian Sullivan suggested more would become clear when the Trump administration announces its Fiscal Year 2019 budget later in February.

Medicaid Work Requirements in Indiana
Last week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) permitted Indiana to impose work requirements and premiums on Medicaid beneficiaries. Indiana became the second state – after Kentucky – to have its Medicaid work requirement waiver approved. Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin have also applied for similar waivers.
The rush of work requirement waiver requests was instigated by Seema Verma, the Trump-appointed administrator of the CMS, who derided Medicaid expansion on her first day in office and called for work requirement proposals in a letter to state Medicaid directors in early January of this year. Before Verma joined CMS, she was a private consultant who crafted austere Medicaid expansion proposals, including for Indiana and Kentucky.

More of What We’re Reading:

Phil Galewitz from Kaiser Health News covers the onerous consequences of late paperwork in the Indiana plan for National Public Radio.

Kaiser Family Foundation released an issue brief last month detailing the new Medicaid work requirements.

Virgil Dickson reported on recusals in the CMS decision-making process and Indiana’s estimations of how many people will be impacted for Modern Healthcare.

Amy Goldstein covered the Trump administration’s letter to Medicaid directors that opened the door to work requirements for The Washington Post in January.

GOP Medicaid work rules imperil care for opioid abusers by Rachana Pradhan and Brianna Ehley for Politico.

State by State analysis of work requirement proposals are featured in this blog What Might a Medicaid Work Requirement Mean? from the Commonwealth Fund.

Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department - Friday, February 09, 2018

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