FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 11, 2018
Contact: Audrey Sandusky, (202) 344-5805, asandusky@nfprha.org

HHS CMS Policy Changes Hurt Vulnerable Populations

Allowing Work Requirements Would Erect Undue Barriers to Essential Health Care

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a State Medicaid Director letter that represents a major shift away from long-standing Medicaid policy. The guidance is contrary to the objectives of the Medicaid program and has the potential to greatly harm the health of poor and low-income individuals, preventing them from accessing essential health care, including family planning and sexual health services.

The following is a statement from Clare Coleman, President & CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA):

“CMS suggests that allowing states to ‘test the hypothesis’ that requiring work as a condition of eligibility or coverage ‘will result in more beneficiaries being employed…thus producing improved health and well-being.’ In reality, CMS is allowing states to punish individuals struggling to find work, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty instead of lifting people out of it.

“Extensive research has shown that a mandatory work requirement does little to increase stable, long-term employment and neither reduces poverty nor improves self-sufficiency. In fact, implementation of the work requirement in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, to which CMS suggests that states should align their Medicaid work requirements, led to more individuals, particularly single mothers, living in extreme poverty, as they were unable to get a job and lost their eligibility for benefits.

“Access to family planning services enables people to further their education, find and hold steady employment, and care for themselves and their families. By blocking enrollees from receiving Medicaid coverage, thereby limiting their access to family planning care, work requirements will create both health and economic hardships for the most vulnerable in our communities.

“NFPRHA is deeply troubled by the negative impact these provisions—and the barriers to care they create—will have on the health and well-being of Medicaid enrollees across the country.”

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The National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) is a membership organization representing providers and administrators committed to helping people get the family planning education and care they need to make the best choices for themselves and their loved ones. NFPRHA works to enhance the ability of thousands of nurse practitioners, doctors, and other health professionals to provide high-quality family planning care through training and advocacy. For more information, visit nationalfamilyplanning.org. 

 

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