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Alabama Medicaid Work Requirement Creates Challenges

Alabama Medicaid is moving forward its proposal for a work requirement (1115 Demonstration Waiver) at the federal level with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). The 30-day federal comment period will open any day.  The American Heart Association (AHA), as the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, is preparing comments to submit expressing significant concerns over the proposed changes.

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The inclusion of a work requirement to qualify for Medicaid coverage is deeply troubling to the AHA. The intent of the 1115 Demonstration Waiver program is to increase access and test innovative approaches to delivering care. This provision does not appear to satisfy either requirement and could significantly harm patients, including those with cardiovascular disease (CVD), by reducing their access to healthcare services both in the short and long term. To treat and prevent heart disease and stroke, it is critically important to ensure that everyone in Alabama – regardless of employment status – has access to affordable, quality healthcare.

This spring, Alabama Medicaid received public comments at the state level regarding the work requirement change where AHA also expressed concerns. Jim Carnes with Alabama Arise shared that, “By [Alabama] Medicaid’s own tally, 90 percent of the 800 comments received were opposed to the work requirement.”

The AHA will remain actively engaged on this issue and continue to focus on affordable, quality access to care for all. For more background on the Alabama work requirement waiver and impact, visit TimesDaily.com.

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