White House Now Allowing States to Tie Medicaid to Inhumane Work Requirements


Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.

The Trump administration will allow states to impose work requirements on residents receiving Medicaid benefits for the first time ever. It’s a major victory for conservatives who think it should be as difficult as possible for poor people to receive basic assistance from the government.

Under the new guidelines, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released on Thursday, states could require working-aged people without disabilities to work, enter a work training program, be in school, or volunteer to receive their benefits, CNN reported.

The guidance acknowledges that some people on Medicaid may have a difficult time meeting any new requirements because of ill health, high employment in the areas they live, and substance abuse, which the agency said states should take into consideration.

Seema Verma, the agency’s administrator, has repeatedly emphasized the “flexibility” this move will allow states.

“One of the things that states have told us time and time again is that they want more flexibility to engage their working-age, able-bodied citizens on Medicaid,” she told a conference of state Medicaid directors in November. “They want to develop programs that will help them break the chains of poverty and live up to their fullest potential. We support this.”

As always, this means flexibility for state administrators, not poor people.

Does this mean some particularly sadistic Republicans will require elderly people to get jobs in order to keep their access to healthcare? For now, it’s a wait and see game, but if conservatives’ zealousness for adding caveats to benefits like food stamps—which, depending on the state, make people do everything from regular drug testing to filling out a set number of job applications every month before they can receive their assistance—is any indication, this new directive will open the door for some truly horrendous shit, all in the name of “flexibility” for states.

How about this: Keep your flexibility and just give poor people access to the ever-dwindling social welfare programs they need, without strings attached. Full stop.


  • Late last night, the creator of the Shitty Media Men list revealed her identity in a piece on The Cut amid the real and present threat of being doxxed in a Harper’s story written by Katie Roiphe.
  • Trump made a stunning discovery about his massive border wall, which was delivered by Kellyanne Conway:

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