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.
With this decision, CMS is making it clear that policies that make it harder for the lowest-income people in the program to get health care are inconsistent with the goals of Medicaid. The decision also defined some boundaries regarding what is and is not appropriate for approval through the Medicaid waiver process.
Last month, Kentucky asked the federal government for approval to make significant and troubling changes to its highly successful Medicaid expansion program. To justify its request, the state asserted that these changes would help “break the cycle of poverty.” However, the results would likely be the opposite.
The fact is, by providing health insurance and helping people in the program avoid medical debt, Medicaid coverage can actually improve the financial health of its enrollees. Two recent reports, one in April and one in June, offer new evidence supporting that link.
How States Can Fund Community Health Workers through Medicaid to Improve People’s Health, Decrease Costs, and Reduce Disparities
This brief discusses the value of community health workers (CHWs) in improving care while reducing disparities for vulnerable populations. It also walks advocates through how they can get sustainable funding for CHWs in their state.