To Get Medicaid in Kentucky, Many Will Have to Work. Advocates for the Poor Are Horrified.

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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, on Friday, announcing new work requirements for many of the state’s Medicaid recipients. Alex Slitz/Lexington Herald-Leader, via Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Kentucky will be the first state to require many of its Medicaid recipients to work or face losing their benefits after the Trump administration approved its plan on Friday.

Advocates for the poor threatened lawsuits, while Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, celebrated the approval as “the most transformational entitlement reform that has been seen in a quarter of a century.”

The plan calls for most Medicaid recipients who are not disabled and aged 19 to 64 to work at least 20 hours a week, beginning in July. In addition to paid jobs, they could meet the requirement through volunteer work, job training, searching for a job, taking classes or caring for someone elderly or disabled.

Pregnant women, full-time students, primary caretakers of dependents and the chronically homeless will be exempt from the work requirement, as will people deemed medically frail. But the Bevin administration still expects about 350,000 people to be subject to the requirement, which will be phased in around the state starting in July. About half of them already meet it, according to the administration.

“We are ready to show America how this can and will be done,” Mr. Bevin said at a news conference in Frankfort. “It will soon become the standard and the norm in the United States of America, and America will be better for it.”

Source: The New York Times