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CMS' Seema Verma says administration forging ahead on work requirements as it examines Arkansas

November 28, 2018 / Evan Sweeney

Despite large numbers of Arkansas residents losing Medicaid eligibility under that state's work requirement law, the Trump administration is doubling down on its support of a "long list" of other states seeking to create their own Medicaid work requirements. Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma said it is too early to draw conclusions from Arkansas' experience with Medicaid work requirement rules, noting a distinction between Arkansas' policy and how it ultimately implemented that policy. The state requires Medicaid beneficiaries to report that they work, attend school, volunteer or search for jobs for 80 hours per month to remain eligible for coverage. Pregnant women, medically frail individuals, caregivers, and other select populations are exempt. Before the policy was implemented, many expected it to result in widespread coverage losses, primarily due to the burden of reporting compliance.