Some States Seek Waivers To Cut Medicaid Costs

Advocates argue that the poor will suffer

In an effort to reduce Medicaid spending, some states have requested waivers from the Trump administration that would place certain restrictions on who gets the aid or, at least, how much. Those restrictions include making some recipients pay monthly premiums, submit to drug testing, and get jobs or, at least, higher paying jobs (with the states’ help).

Most states spend more on Medicaid than on almost anything else, except for education. Thanks to the expansion of the program under Obamacare, enrollment has soared by about 14 million people since 2014.

“To Medicaid’s staunchest supporters and most vocal critics alike, the waiver requests are a way to rein in the $500 billion program that has undergone unprecedented growth the past four years and now covers 75 million people,” Kaiser Health News reports.

The waivers, granted under the ACA, began to be made available on April 1. They can be used to bolster programs, as well as cut spending. For instance, Virginia used the money to make more residential drug treatment programs available for residents. The number of such programs grew from four, in the beginning of the year, to over 70.

Sara Rosenbaum, a health policy expert at George Washington University chairs a Medicaid group that advises Congress. She tells KHN that “Now there is concern these more extreme measures would hurt enrollees’ access to care.”

Source: Kaiser Health News