Trump Just Undermined Medicaid in a Deadly Way — And It Hits His Voters Hardest
Trump Admin Announces New Work Requirement For Medicaid, Red States Hammered
The Republican Donald Trump administration has announced new guidance that would allow states to add a work requirement on to many Medicaid recipients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the changes to states today. This gives the Republican Party a long sought victory against one of the key programs that helps low income people to literally survive. But are they hurting their own voters with this change? It appears so.
The new guidance had been on its way for months and allows states to require work or job training requirements on able-bodied recipients. Roughly half of those enrolled in Medicaid are children.
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There are some exemptions, as noted by Reuters.
Certain Medicaid recipients would be exempt from the rules, including those with disabilities, the elderly, children and pregnant women, the administration said. [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema] Verma also said states would have to make “reasonable modifications” for those battling opioid addiction and other substance-use disorders.
Around 75 million people are covered through Medicaid and CHIP. According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, around 25 million people are non-elderly adults without Supplemental Security Income and most of that group already work or live in “working families”.
Data show that among the nearly 25 million non-SSI adults (ages 19-64) enrolled in Medicaid in 2016, 6 in 10 (60%) are working themselves (Figure 1). A larger share, nearly 8 in 10 (79%), are in families with at least one worker, with nearly two-thirds (64%) with a full-time worker and another 14% with a part-time worker; one of the adults in such families may not work, often due to caregiving or other responsibilities.
All in all, the GOP dream appears to be targeting around 5 million people. But, as others have noted, many of these folks might simply be “waiting for decisions from the federal government on their disability status” or have a disability that doesn’t qualify but doesn’t allow them to work.
One question that arises is where are these people most heavily located? The Kaiser Family Foundation has a breakdown by state of the highest percentage of people falling into this category and there is one undeniable reality in the numbers. Most of the states hit the hardest will be states that voted for Donald Trump.
In 2016, 21 states and the District of Columbia had no worker in the family in 25 percent or more of non-elderly adult Medicaid recipients without SSI. Of that group, Donald Trump won 17 states and one electoral college vote in Maine.
This reality is nothing new. Analysis of the one of the many failed Republican attempts at repealing and replacing Obamacare found counties that went for Trump would have been hit the hardest if the law had been passed.
In other words, Donald Trump ran his campaign on a so-called “populist” platform, but the policies his administration has pursued are anything but that. In fact, he’s hurting many of the people who put him in office the worst.
Some have certainly taken notice. And judging from the election losses Republicans have sustained in recent months, these terrible changes might solidify the likelihood of a blue wave election this coming November.
Featured image via Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images.
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