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Feds OK N.H. Medicaid Work Requirement

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The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved a request by the state of New Hampshire to implement a work requirement for some Medicaid recipients in the state.

The new rules will require certain Medicaid recipients to log at least 100 hours a month in qualifying activities, including but not limited to holding a job, going to school, or participating in community service.

Certain populations, like people participating in a drug court program, or the parent of a dependent child with a disability, are exempted from the work requirement.

[See the full list of exempted populations and activities that satisfy the work requirement beginning on page 10 of this document.]

Medicaid recipients will be allowed to make up any hours they are short in one month with hours from the following month. Beginning in May of 2020, those requirements tighten, and recipients will not be allowed not make up hours over “repeated consecutive” months in a single year.

In a statement celebrating today's announcement, Governor Chris Sununu said the work requirement "will help bring more people into the workforce, empowering individuals with the dignity of work, self-reliability and access to high quality health care.”

Critics, like Dawn McKinney with New Hampshire Legal Assistance, offered their own statements, saying the work requirement is unconstitutional and will leave the state open to litigation, citing a ruling earlier this year on Kentucky's Medicaid work requirement.

“Today the federal government approved a waiver that would allow New Hampshire to implement a similar, costly and ineffective work reporting requirement that threatens the health insurance access of thousands of New Hampshire families. 77% of people on Medicaid in New Hampshire are in working families.  Those who aren’t working are sick, disabled, or taking care of family,” McKinney said.

New Hampshire is one of a handful of states that have requested to implement Medicaid work requirements.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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