Trump Administration encourages states to restructure Medicaid

Trump Administration encourages states to restructure Medicaid
February 06 15:40 2018 Print This Article

The Trump Administration sent a letter to state Governors and Medicaid program directors in March 2017 asking them to propose individual program changes which better meet the needs of their populations.  Medicaid is the federal medical insurance program for the poor which re-imburses healthcare providers for services and medications. The budget-neutral restructuring calls for more able-bodies recipients to be employed or involved in education, job-training or community service activities. The goal established is to improve health outcomes and lift people out of poverty.

So far, 11 states have submitted plans to re-structure their Medicaid plans.  In a Washington Post op-ed, Medicare and Medicaid Services Director Seema Verma wrote, “We must allow the program to be more flexible.  We recognize that states are closer to the people they serve and can better help recipients rise out of poverty.”  The plan is part of the Trump Administrations move toward federalism, a philosophy of de-centralization in which programs are managed by the states, rather than the federal government.

The Medicaid overhaul protects services to the disabled and those with chronic health problems.  It also asks states to provide treatment for opioid addiction and other substance abuse issues.  It would increase the income threshold at which people may receive Medicaid services.  Verma touted the benefits of Medicaid recipients working and performing community service, writing, “It’s unfortunate that some automatically assume that low-income Americans are incapable of contributing to our communities.”  She added, “We owe it to these Americans to try whatever may help them achieve the dignity and self-sufficiency they deserve.”