In recent weeks, the Biden administration has begun the process of rescinding Trump-era waiver programs authorizing Medicaid work requirements. Experts say that the new administration has a strong legal position in doing so, even though it faces some road blocks, and that the moves are part of a larger strategy to bolster Medicaid.
Experts anticipated the move by the new administration to directly address work requirements following an executive order from President Joe Biden (HPW 2/5/21, p. 1) that directed agencies to review “demonstrations and waivers, as well as demonstration and waiver policies, that may reduce coverage under or otherwise undermine Medicaid or the ACA.” On Feb. 12, CMS sent letters to states that received Section 1115 waivers under the Trump administration that allowed them to require certain Medicaid beneficiaries to prove they are employed, looking for work or volunteering. State Medicaid chiefs in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin all received letters. Arkansas is the only state that has been able to put work requirements into effect, though its demonstration program was suspended after federal courts ruled against it.