Letters and Correspondences
Comments to HHS on work requirement waivers by Mississippi and Kentucky
First Focus submitted these public comments to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the work requirement waivers submitted by the states of Mississippi and Kentucky.
The revised waiver proposal requires that they work 20 hours per week. However, even at a minimum wage job they would earn $580/month, thus disqualifying them for Medicaid. They are quite literally damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The idea that these part-time, minimum wage jobs would offer affordable health coverage is absurd. What this waiver proposal does then is propose to absolutely eliminate the ability to receive health coverage from these very poor parents in Mississippi.
One concern with Kentucky HEALTH is its monthly premium requirement, which will undoubtedly result in a loss of Medicaid coverage for parents. Research on monthly premium requirements is very clear, in that it leads to Medicaid coverage losses. The Kaiser Family Foundation published a literature review last year on the effects of premiums on low-income populations The Kaiser study cited 29 different studies and found that “premiums increase dis-enrollment from Medicaid and CHIP among adults and children, shorten lengths of Medicaid and CHIP enrollment, and deter eligible adults and children from enrolling in Medicaid.”