Trump to the Poor: You Must Work for Your Medicaid, Even Though 60 Percent of You Already Do

President Donald Trump and Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, on March 22, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump and Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, on March 22, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In more of the president’s heartless-rich-white-man shtick (except it’s obvious that he’s really all of these things), the Trump administration on Thursday announced that it will allow state-run Medicaid programs to require “able-bodied” Medicaid recipients to work, an action already co-signed by 10 states.

The new rules mandate that those who receive the health insurance based on income jump over even more hurdles to receive health care that they otherwise could not afford. The cynical among us might even surmise that states are doing this to get folks off their medical roles and save money.

Trump-administration official Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that requiring work or community involvement can make a positive difference in people’s lives and in their health. “We see people moving off of Medicaid as a good outcome,” she said of the more than 50-year-old social safety net, the Associated Press reports.


Several congressional Democrats swiftly condemned the new policy, and of course, Republican lawmakers were largely silent.

But Twitter wasn’t.


The administration said that 10 states have applied for waivers involving work requirements or community involvement: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.

In Kentucky, Republican state Sen. Damon Thayer said that work requirements could lessen the program’s impact on the state budget (bingo!), and said that Medicaid shouldn’t be used as “a permanent subsidy for someone’s lifestyle, if they’re capable of working.”


However, AP reports that a Kaiser study found that most working-age adults on Medicaid are already employed. Nearly 60 percent work either full time or part time, mainly for employers that don’t offer health insurance.

There are some exceptions to the work rules, with exemptions for pregnant women, disabled people and the elderly, and those who take care of children or elderly relatives; as well as hardship exemptions for areas with high unemployment. Substance abuse treatment would also be counted as “community engagement,” and therefore would meet the requirement.


AP also reports that Medicaid was expanded under former President Barack Obama, with an option allowing states to cover millions more low-income adults—mostly working adults who already have jobs that don’t provide health insurance.

Trump’s new direction is not a permanent change to the program and can be reversed by the next president.



Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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I hope that whenever he eventually strokes out and dies from his KFC/Coke overdose, I hope it’s as slow and painful as possible. Fuck him and especially fuck the America hating racists who voted this hemorrhoid of a person into office. Oh, and fuck every single republican. This is the future they’ve wanted for generations.