Medicaid work requirements axed from debt ceiling deal

Medicaid work requirements were not included in a debt ceiling deal between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, The New York Times reported May 29. 

House Republicans included work requirements in an April bill to raise the debt ceiling into next year. Under the proposal, Medicaid beneficiaries would have needed to work, volunteer or be part of a work program for 80 hours per month — or participate in some combination of those activities. Those rules would have affected beneficiaries ages 19 to 56. It included exceptions for pregnant women, parents and caregivers, as well as those who are physically or mentally unable to work, as determined by a physician. The proposal allowed states to keep those who do not comply with work requirements enrolled in the program, but those states would have taken on the full cost of coverage for those enrollees. 

President Biden had said he would not consider work requirements that affect people's healthcare in a deal to raise the debt ceiling. 

The House is expected to vote on the deal after markets close May 30, NBC News reported May 28. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the Medicaid work requirement proposal would result in an estimated 600,000 people losing coverage and would save the federal government $109 billion over a 10-year period. It also said the proposal would have "a negligible effect on employment status or hours worked by people who would be subject to the work requirements."

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