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Ohio Medicaid submits request for first ever work requirements

The Ohio Department of Medicaid today officially submitted its request to create the first ever work requirements in the state.

Medicaid — the state-federal health insurance program for the poor — covers about 3 million people, including about 710,000 through Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The new work requirements, if approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would require those covered by Medicaid expansion to either have a job for at least 20 hours per week, be looking for work, or attending school or job training.

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The state estimates that about 95 percent would either meet the work requirement or be exempt.

Out of the 36,000 enrollees that will not meet the work requirements or have an exemption, the state estimates about 18,000 will lose their Medicaid eligibility.

Ohio Medicaid first proposed the work requirements in February and held a public comment period, during which dozens of medical and social service lobbying groups pushed back against the proposal.

The Republican-majority Ohio General Assembly put the language into the budget last summer that required the Ohio Department of Medicaid to seek permission to add the job requirements for those covered through Medicaid expansion.

Proponents have said the work requirements are necessary to push people toward jobs and self sufficiency.

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Opponents to the work requirements have said will put unnecessary burdens on the poor and make health outcomes worse, not to mention wasted money on red tape.

Several organizations, including Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, submitted concerns over how a person will be deemed “physically or medically unfit” for work, which is one of the exemptions under Ohio Medicaid’s proposal.

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