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


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.

Before joining NHPR in August 2014, Jack was a freelance writer and radio reporter. His work aired on NPR, BBC, Marketplace and 99% Invisible, and he wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and Northern Woodlands.

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