May 26, 2022

Arkansas just kicked thousands of poor residents off Medicaid thanks to Trump

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President Trump’s war on the poor will have long-lasting and devastating consequences for the people of this country that could end up take decades to rectify. His massive tax scam funneled even more wealth to the top 1%, while his cuts to important federal programs hurt those who need funding the most. And he’s not even close to done yet.

The Hill reports that 4,353 Arkansans have lost their Medicaid coverage due to failure to comply with the new work requirements enabled by the Trump administration and implemented in June.

It’s worth noting that these people may have actually fulfilled the work requirements, but are being stripped of their Medicaid for failure to provide documentation proving they’ve completed the 80 hours of paid or volunteer work demanded of them.

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People who fail to report the required work three months in one year are removed from the healthcare program for the rest of the year. Only 1,218 Arkansan Medicaid recipients reported the required work last month.

The Hill adds that 16,357 failed to meet the required documented work last month, leaving them vulnerable to Medicaid expulsion in the near future.

Last month, the National Health Law Program Legal Aid of Arkansas and the Southern Poverty Law Center advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in response to its decision to allow the state of Arkansas to force work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries.

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Reuters reported the lawsuit takes aim at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and has been filed on behalf of three Arkansas citizens who received Medicaid.

“In June, Arkansas became the first U.S. state to require that many able-bodied Medicaid recipients do some combination of work, volunteer, job training or schooling for a minimum of 80 hours each month to keep their benefits, a sweeping shift in healthcare rules. Those who fail to meet the work requirements for any three months will be locked out of health insurance for the remainder of the year,” Brendan Pierson of Reuters explains.

The work requirements are expected to affect some 30,000 to 40,000 people between the ages of 40 to 49. Those affected must engage in some kind of paid or volunteer work and submit documentation proving they did it in order to maintain their Medicaid benefits. The requirement will be extended to individuals aged 19 to 29 starting next year.

Recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association indicate that “that the vast majority of Medicaid recipients already work or would be exempt for reasons such as pregnancy or disability. Because only a small number of beneficiaries would be affected, budgetary savings through any reduction in the rolls would be minimal.”

While the Republican Governor of Arkansas paints the move as an attempt to get “able-bodied Arkansans back to work” and avoid the imaginary exploitation of the Medicaid system, the truth is that this is simply another part of the eternal GOP push to slash all social programs and to further punish the poor simply for being poor.

Original reporting by Jessie Hellmann at The Hill.

Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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