Arizona government tries for lifetime cap on Medicaid with Trump Administration
Feb. 13, 2018
Arizona has been trying to add work requirements and lifetime caps on Medicaid since 2015 with no luck, but the Trump Administration may be what they need to get those provisions passed.
Medicaid is available for disabled people. Arizona has a vague definition on what qualifies an able bodied person: 18-65 years of age and physically able to work. It’s a misconception that those on Medicaid don’t work, Swapna Reddy of the ASU School for the Science of Health Care Delivery says. Over 60 percent of those who benefit from the program are employed, but they live on a very low income, she says.
“The goal of Medicaid as it was written several decades ago and how it’s been enforced all these years is to really increase access and coverage for the most vulnerable in our population,” Reddy says. “Is that what we want Medicaid to be, or do we want to cover the least amount of people for the least amount of money?”
Kentucky and Indiana have managed to rework their Medicaid rules since the Trump Administration took over. The work requirement for Kentucky’s Medicaid program is currently in federal court. Reddy says there is concern of government overreach for this government program.
“In Arizona, we have about 1.9 million people on Medicaid,” Reddy says. “From experience, when you make it harder to enroll, you lose coverage. When you streamline and make it easier to enroll, you increase coverage. Is that our goal or is that not our goal?”
Reddy says the state doesn’t have the money to change the system at the moment. The necessary infrastructure and funds required to check people and administer an updated program aren’t currently available. It would actually end up costing the state money, Reddy says.
“The narrative and the facts aren’t on the same page at the moment,” Reddy says.