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Arkansas governor announces work requirement for Medicaid recipients

[JURIST] Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson [official bio] announced [press release] on Monday that Arkansas will be implementing a work requirement [JURIST commentary] for Medicaid recipients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [government website] approved [letter; pdf] the state's request on Monday, prompting the governor's statement. The work requirement will become effective in June.

Medicaid recipients ages 19 to 49 will be expected to either work, attend school or job training, volunteer, or search for a job for at least 80 hours a month. Exemptions apply for people who are deemed "medically frail," those who are pregnant, those who are caring for children or disabled adults, those in substance abuse treatment, those who are receiving Transitional Employment Assistance, and those who are already exempt from the SNAP work requirement.

Hutchinson said, "The approval of this work requirement will go a long way to create opportunities for able-bodied working-age Arkansans to enter into training or employment and ultimately climb the economic ladder."

Democrats have criticized [Reuters report] the requirement, saying it will make it more difficult for some Americans to receive health care.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved similar work requirements from Kentucky and Indiana.

In January, the Trump administration said [JURIST report] they will allow states to impose employment requirements on eligibility for Medicaid. Later that month, three organizations sued [JURIST report] the Trump Administration for approving Kentucky's work requirement request. In February, Ruqaiijah Yearby of Case Western Reserve University School of Law discussed [JURIST commentary] the impact work requirements could have on poverty.

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