Arizona suspends Medicaid work requirement

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) is the single state Medicaid Agency that provides funding to administer health care benefits for persons who are titled eligible and manages grants to serve special populations.It was the pandemic rush that Arizona quietly suspended plans to require about 120,000 people to work, volunteer or go to school to receive Medicaid benefits, as courts have taken a dim view of similar mandates in other states. Their Health Care Cost Containment System stated, “implementation is being temporarily delayed, as court cases in other states play out, to avoid disruptions to and protect Arizona’s most vulnerable members”. Waviers approved on March 29, 2019 stated, Individuals will be required within the first three months of a 12 month benefit year or following notification that the individual is subject to the work requirement (whichever is later), complete the following activities:

1) register for work through the state’s online system;

2) complete an online assessment of employment training needs

3) apply for employment, either directly or through the state’s automated employment application submission process, with at least 48 potential employers;

 4) complete the online training modules, as determined appropriate by the online assessment. Once the required activities are completed, an individual will remain eligible for the remainder of the 12- month eligibility period.

 The issue rising is whether a program created by Congress to provide medical care to the poor can also be used to encourage low-income people to try to move up in society and make that a condition to keep getting help. Where the administration under Trump argued that the rules would make people healthier. More than even 20 states are in various stages of trying to implement work requirements. It has been reported about 18,000 people lost benefits after Arkansas implemented work requirements, though it’s not clear how many got coverage elsewhere. Nationally about 6 in 10 adults on Medicaid already work in low-wage jobs, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Most of those not working cite reasons such as poor health, caring for an elder or a child, or going to school and todays situation has automatically laid them under worst scenarios till the date.

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