Commentary, NC Budget and Tax Center

There’s no way to fix Medicaid work reporting requirements

The conversation about expanding Medicaid in North Carolina has been growing, but proposals to make the program less accessible and less efficient are still casting a shadow. Work-reporting requirements are an unnecessary and harmful barrier that would keep North Carolinians from accessing medical coverage.

Evidence — from across the nation and from other programs like food assistance — have demonstrated that not only do requirements to report work activities target people who have difficultly navigating administrative red tape, but they also punish people who are working but may not have a reliable work schedule or steady employment.

A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities details the lessons learned from seven states that expanded Medicaid but chose to restrict access through work-reporting requirements. They found that even when policymakers attempted “fix” work reporting rules, the unintended consequences left far too many eligible people without health coverage:

“Medicaid work requirements can’t be fixed: other states that implement work requirements will see the same unintended consequences as Arkansas is experiencing. After evaluating the initial data from Arkansas, the non-partisan Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission recommended that the Administration immediately pause on allowing any more people to lose coverage in Arkansas as well as on approving work requirements in other states.  Both the Trump Administration and state policymakers should heed that recommendation.”

Read the full report here: Medicaid Work Requirements Can’t Be Fixed: Unintended Consequences Are Inevitable Result

Brian Kennedy II is a public policy analyst for The Budget & Tax Center at the N.C. Justice Center.

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