Feds Halt N.H.'s Plan to Make Medicaid Recipients Prove Employment

Nov 8, 2016

The federal government has said no to New Hampshire's attempt to make Medicaid recipients prove they're working, or a so-called work requirement.

When the state legislature re-authorized expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2015, there was a catch: Republicans pushed for a rule that would require Medicaid recipients to prove they were employed or looking for work, a measure that needed federal approval.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has now rejected that requirement, as the feds have when other states made similar requests. In a letter to Health Commissioner Jeff Meyers, CMS said if implemented the rule would, quote, "undermine access, efficiency, and quality of care to Medicaid beneficiaries."

The federal government rejected a few other provisions as well, although it did let stand a rule requiring Medicaid patients to pay co-pays for unnecessary emergency room visits.

Expanded Medicaid services will continue for more than 50,000 people in the state because the Republican-led Legislature agreed to a clause that even if parts of the program were deemed illegal or unconstitutional, it could still continue.