Recently, the state of Wisconsin submitted an application to the federal government seeking Medicaid waiver authority to make drug testing a condition of eligibility for the state’s adult Medicaid program--BadgerCare. This request breaks dangerous new ground; drug testing has never been allowed as part of the application process in the Medicaid program. That’s because it is illegal, it will make it harder for everyone applying for Medicaid, and it will hurt rather than help those with substance use disorders.
Today, in a speech to the National Association of Medicaid Directors, CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced that the Trump Administration is approving Medicaid waivers that impose work requirements on adults. These requirements are a deplorable break with decades of Medicaid policy, a threat to the one in five Americans who depend on the Medicaid program, and an abuse of the Medicaid waiver authority. This decision is wrong both on legal and policy grounds.
More than $18,000 to spend on Medicaid for each person in Alaska; Nevada gets just over $4,000. Does that sound fair? Well, that’s the funding formula in the GOP health care repeal plan. States that spend a lot on Medicaid now get a lot later. States that spend less get stuck with less. And the formula doesn’t change. Ever.