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 Republicans’ Double Talk On Exempting Rural Whites From Medicaid Rules

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Join date : 2013-12-25

PostSubject: Republicans’ Double Talk On Exempting Rural Whites From Medicaid Rules   Wed May 16, 2018 8:15 am

As the Trump administration encourages states to impose work requirements on their Medicaid programs, now in place in four states and counting, two conflicting messages have emerged.

The administration’s top health care officials, as well as many Republican governors and lawmakers, have argued that people living in counties with high unemployment rates should be exempted from the work requirement — a seemingly neutral standard that in practice favors rural white residents and places a heavier burden on urban-dwelling residents of color.

At the same time, the administration insists that the policy is not a work requirement, but rather an incentive to be active in their community in some fashion.

“Community engagement isn’t necessarily just about work,” Trump’s Medicaid chief, CMS Administrator Seema Verma, told a packed room at the Washington Post on Tuesday morning. “It could be volunteer work, it could be job search activities, it could be job training — anything to help that individual seek independence and a pathway out of poverty.”

This contradiction has experts like George Washington University health law professor Sara Rosenbaum scratching their heads.

“If it’s truly about ‘community engagement’ and not a work requirement, why exempt anyone?” she asked TPM. “If what you care about is getting people to participate in their communities, it doesn’t matter what the unemployment rate is. You can ‘engage’ in any community.”

CMS did not respond to TPM’s questions about the exemptions by deadline.

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