The first major study on the nation’s first Medicaid work requirements finds that people fell off of the Medicaid rolls but didn’t seem to find more work.
Since Arkansas implemented the nation’s first Medicaid work requirements last year, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found, Medicaid enrollment has fallen for working-age adults, the uninsured rate has been rising, and there has been little discernible effect on employment.
The research appears to confirm some of the warnings from Medicaid advocates who opposed the Trump administration’s approval of work requirements in Arkansas and other states. People are losing Medicaid coverage, often as a result of confusion rather than failure to meet the work requirements, but they aren’t finding jobs and getting insurance that way. They are simply becoming uninsured.
One paragraph succinctly summarizes the new study from a team of Harvard researchers led by Ben Sommers:
Using a timely survey of low-income adults, we find that Arkansas’s implementation of the nation’s first work requirements in Medicaid in 2018 was associated with significant losses in health insurance coverage in the policy’s initial six months but no significant change in employment. Lack of awareness and confusion about the reporting requirements were common, which may explain why thousands of individuals lost coverage even though more than 95% of the target population appeared to meet the requirements or qualify for an exemption.