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Biden administration rolls back some Medicaid work requirement waivers

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President Joe Biden listens to a question from a member of the press after he delivered remarks on the state of vaccinations at the State Dining Room of the White House on April 6, 2021 in Washington.

President Biden at a White House press conference on April 6, 2021. Alex Wong/Getty Images

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The Biden administration is rolling back rules put in place during the Trump administration to require some low-income people to work in order to qualify for Medicaid. The feds notified Michigan and some other states that their work requirement policies can’t be implemented.

The Trump administration allowed states to require that some Medicaid recipients show they were working or looking for work in order to keep their benefits. About a dozen states got waivers to do that, said Joan Alker at Georgetown University, though in many, implementation was blocked by the courts.

“Michigan had their policy in place for just a few months — about 80,000 people potentially slated to lose their health insurance if the court hadn’t stepped in,” Alker said.

The Biden administration says that imposing work requirements may put people’s health care coverage at risk during the pandemic. Robin Rudowitz at the Kaiser Family Foundation said the administration’s argument more broadly is “that the work requirements don’t promote the objectives of the Medicaid program, which is to provide coverage to low-income people.”

So Rudowitz said the administration has revoked work requirement waivers in Michigan, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Arkansas. More revocations may follow.

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