Though Medicaid asset tests are prohibited, Arkansas plans a way around | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Though Medicaid asset tests are prohibited, Arkansas plans a way around

Posted By on Sat, Jan 14, 2017 at 7:48 AM

The Arkansas crackdown on poor recipients of welfare programs is underway including a work-around of the prohibition of asset tests for Medicaid recipients.

Interesting story by John Lyon of Arkansas News Bureau. State officials told reporters that it will expand a pilot program and check recipients of expanded Medicaid coverage provided  by Obamacare for unreported income. That IS allowed. And how will it check unreported income? It will "review" their assets. Money in the bank will help state officials check for unreported income. These asset tests also will be used to check food stamp recipients.

The state is also going to refer ALL in the Obamacare Medicaid expansion to the Workforce Services Department for employment or potential improved employment. Originally, this referral was only going to be required for those making less than 50 percent of the federal poverty level. The Medicaid expansion covers those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Rather than describe this work referral as what could be a minimally productive intrusion on people struggling to get by on minimum wage jobs, it is described as a boon:

"If you're making 51 percent of the federal poverty level, you want help moving up the income ladder. You need access to these kinds of services," said DHS Director Cindy Gillespie.

Department of Workforce Services Director Daryl Bassett said, "We didn't want to be in a position where we were picking winners and losers among Arkansas' workers."
The idea is to reduce the number of people covered by Medicaid and save the state the small match it must provide to federal dollars. It is also meant to comfort those who believe the undeserving are receiving government help. Such efforts sometimes produce fewer benefits than they cost, particularly drug-testing screens. These may be different. Time will tell.

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