She spoke to the plenary session of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) Fall Conference in Arlington, Virginia.
Verma unveiled new CMS policies that encourage states to propose innovative Medicaid reforms, reduce federal regulatory burdens, increase efficiency, and promote transparency and accountability. A CMS press release quotes the Administrator:
Our vision for the future of Medicaid is to reset the federal-state relationship and restore the partnership, while at the same time modernizing the program to deliver better outcomes for the people we serve. We need to ensure that we are building a Medicaid program that is sound and solvent to help all beneficiaries reach their highest potential.
HealthLeaders Media reports Verma referred to “able-bodied” or “non-disabled” adults, individuals and enrollees seven times in her speech, while making the case for work requirements. Her speech included no specifics on what percentage of Medicaid enrollees were considered “able-bodied.”
Critics have called claims that healthy adults are bilking the program a red herring, and studies have shown that the numbers of “able-bodied” adults who are on Medicaid are relatively low, and can be explained by other factors, such as leaving the workforce to act as a caregiver.
Eight states — Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Utah and Wisconsin — have submitted requests to CMS seeking to require nondisabled Medicaid enrollees to either work or provide community service.
The proposed work requirement rules vary by state. Arizona calls for enrollees to be working, seeking work or attending school or job training for at least 20 hours a week. Read more on the topic and Verma’s comments in The Kaiser Health News
Read the speech as provided at CMS.gov for yourself.
To visit the new updated Medicaid 1115 Demonstration Project page click here.
To view the Section 1115 Demonstration Process Improvements Informational Bulletin, click here.
To view the State Plan Amendment and 1915 Waiver Informational Bulletin, click here.