Understanding the Intersection of Medicaid and Work

Source: Rachel Garfield, Robin Rudowitz and Anthony Damico, Kaiser Family Foundation, Issue Brief, February 2017

From the overview:
Medicaid is the nation’s public health insurance program for people with low incomes. Overall, the Medicaid program covers more than 70 million Americans, or 1 in 5, including many with complex and costly needs for care. Historically, nonelderly, non-disabled adults accounted for a small share (27%) of Medicaid enrollees; however, the enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded coverage to nonelderly adults with income up to 138% FPL, or $16,394 for an individual in 2016. As of January 2017, 32 states have implemented the ACA Medicaid expansion. By design, the expansion extended coverage to the working poor (both parents and childless adults), most of whom do not otherwise have access to affordable coverage. With the expansion to more “able-bodied” adults, questions have arisen about tying work to eligibility.

President Trump may consider waiver proposals with a work requirement, and the Administration and leaders in Congress are considering proposals to repeal the ACA and to transform Medicaid from an entitlement program with guaranteed federal matching dollars for states to a block grant with no entitlement and capped funding. Such proposals would grant states additional flexibility to design and administer their programs and potentially include an option to allow states to impose a work requirement for Medicaid beneficiaries, which is not allowed under current law. This issue brief examines the work status of non-elderly, non-disabled adults with Medicaid coverage to understand the potential implications of work requirement proposals in Medicaid.