Biden plans to bar states from forcing people to work for Medicaid cover, reversing Trump policy

  • Biden is rescinding states’ ability to apply Medicaid work requirements, per multiple reports.
  • Currently, states can require low-income residents to work or volunteer in exchange for coverage.
  • Imposing work requirements was one of Trump’s signature health policies, which Democrats hated.
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President Joe Biden is planning to bar states from forcing low-income residents to work for their Medicaid health cover, multiple reports say.

The move that would reverse a divisive policy championed by former President Donald Trump.

The Biden administration plans to inform states on Friday that they will no longer be able to apply to impose work requirements on poor residents who want to enroll in Medicaid according to reports from Politico, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

The outlets cited draft proposals and sources familiar with the plans.

The work requirements typically ask that residents work for 20 or more hours, either by doing a specified job, looking for work, doing community service, or taking classes, The Journal reported.

The Trump administration previously invited to states to implement such schemes, per the reports, something the Biden administration now plans to take back.

Read more: Washington moves of the week: Here’s who’s landing at the Biden White House, federal agencies, and Capitol Hill

Some states, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and New Hampshire, have already received federal permission under Trump to adopt those work requirements. 

However, some of those waivers, specifically in Arkansas and New Hampshire, were struck down by judges in cases that are going to the Supreme Court in March.

A few states withdrew applications for work programs when Republican governors were replaced by Democrats, The Washington Post reported.

It is not clear how or when the Biden administration would rescind those waivers, and how the proposed plans would affect the Supreme Court case.

Insider has contacted the White House for comment.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a key reason for Biden’s rollback of the work rules, Politico reported, citing health department draft documents.

A draft plan cited by Politico referred to “serious concerns that now is not the appropriate time to test policies that risk a substantial loss of health care coverage or benefits in the near term.”

“The uncertainty regarding the lingering health consequences of COVID infections further exacerbates the harms of coverage loss or lack of access to coverage for the Medicaid beneficiaries,” the plan added, per Politico.

Friday’s reports come two weeks after Biden signed executive orders expanding healthcare access across the US, which include reopening enrollment in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Imposing Medicaid work requirements was one of Trump’s signature health policies, and was championed by the then-administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma.

She told Insider’s Kimberly Leonard shortly before the end of her tenure, in mid-January, that she has “no regrets.”

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