PNS Daily Newscast - February 27, 2020 

Trump puts Pence in charge of coronavirus response; and lingering concerns about U.S. Census participation.

2020Talks - February 27, 2020 

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn endorsed former VP Joe Biden, ahead of South Carolina's primaries. Super Tuesday states, including North Carolina, are also voting soon, but campaigning there is different.

Report: Medicaid Work Requirement Could Lead to Health Care Loss

The proposed work-reporting requirement would affect families with annual incomes below $21,000. Opponents say that's primarily parents and caregivers. (Bobbylove/Twenty20)
The proposed work-reporting requirement would affect families with annual incomes below $21,000. Opponents say that's primarily parents and caregivers. (Bobbylove/Twenty20)
January 31, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As many as 68,000 Tennesseans would be affected by a proposal to require parents who now receive Medicaid to demonstrate that they're working at least 20 hours a week, according to a new report.

The report from the Tennessee Justice Center and the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families is based on research on a similar policy in Arkansas, which led to more than 18,000 adults losing their Medicaid coverage in the first few months.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center for Children, says the proposal is unlikely to promote more work, and most likely to affect women.

"We know this from research on other programs that have implemented work requirements and the experience of Tennessee’s neighbor Arkansas,” she states. “The practical effects of Tennessee's proposal will be to take away Medicaid coverage from very poor parents, again, mostly mothers."

Tennessee's proposal has been submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for review. The public comment period ends Feb. 7.

The state ranks top in hospital closures, and has seen a loss of 12 hospitals in the poorest communities without Medicaid expansion.

Mary Graham, president of United Ways of Tennessee, maintains the waiver being requested by the state will create an even bigger health care crisis.

"You know, United Ways of Tennessee, we support work as a core value, but taking away people's health care coverage?” she questions. “That's not a way to get more people working.

“This is going to be devastating to communities across Tennessee, and this waiver is going to make it even harder for rural hospitals to keep their doors open."

Graham says those with medical and other needs are likely to seek assistance at hospitals in the poorest communities and help from charitable organizations.

Michele Johnson, executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center, says her group is hosting a forum on Feb. 5 to help people understand the proposal, which she says is complicated.

"We'll have a panel of experts just breaking down what these work-reporting requirements mean, and explaining kind of what they mean for Tennessee families, for our health care infrastructure and for our economy,” she states. “So, we want to make sure people know about this, because there is a lot of misinformation."

Antionette Kerr, Public News Service - TN