Capitol Correspondence - 12.10.19

Virginia Seeks to Pause Medicaid Work Requirements Negotiation with Administration

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ANCOR has long been concerned about the effect Medicaid work requirements could have on people with disabilities and the workforce who support them. We are seeing some more news on this topic now that some states have had off-year elections, such as developments in Virginia reported on by Politico Pro:

“Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is asking the Trump administration to halt finalizing the state’s application for a Medicaid work requirement, citing the Democratic takeover of the statehouse in this fall’s election.


Virginia Medicaid Director Karen Kimsey in a Tuesday letter formally asked CMS to delay finalizing the state’s pending waiver, which includes a work requirement and premiums for some enrollees.

CMS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It’s possible CMS could still ignore the state’s request and approve the work rules.

State Democratic lawmakers are now positioned to undo the work requirement after winning control of the House and Senate in November. They originally agreed to the policy over a year ago to secure enough Republican support for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. More than 340,000 low-income adults have enrolled since sign-ups began last year.

Virginia has been in negotiations with CMS over the Medicaid waiver for months. Northam’s administration previously threatened to not implement the work requirement if CMS refused to provide requested federal funds for job-related services meant to reduce coverage losses — a move that was met with criticism from statehouse Republicans. CMS has suggested Medicaid statute prevented it from granting the funding.

CMS has approved Medicaid work requirements in nine states. However, litigation has stymied many state programs. Legal aid groups have filed lawsuits over programs in five states, most recently in Michigan.”