Alabama's costly catch-22 Medicaid waiver plan would punish parents in poverty

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Monday, July 2, 2018, in response to Alabama Medicaid’s submission of a “work requirement” proposal for federal approval:

“Alabama Medicaid’s work requirement proposal would create a no-win situation for thousands of parents living in deep poverty. They’ll lose health coverage if they don’t get a job – and if they do.

“This proposal is a catch-22. Because Alabama hasn’t expanded Medicaid, a mother with two kids is ineligible if she works just 10 hours a week at minimum wage. If she met the proposed work requirement, she would earn too much for Medicaid, but not nearly enough to afford private coverage. When parents lose their insurance, children are less likely to have regular doctor visits and more likely to become uninsured themselves.

“On the same day Alabama submitted its proposal, a federal court struck down Kentucky’s plan to impose a work requirement and other restrictions on people covered by Medicaid expansion. That ruling, against a state with a much more generous Medicaid program than Alabama’s, highlights our state’s risk of a similar costly lawsuit.

“Any way you look at it, this proposal is nothing more than an expensive plan for denying health coverage to parents in deep poverty. Instead of punishing struggling families, our leaders need a vision for a healthier Alabama. We urge Gov. Ivey to save tax dollars, cut red tape and save lives by withdrawing this misguided plan.”

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