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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 12, 2018 04:06 PM
From: Representative Seth M. Grove
To: All House members
Subject: Work and Community Engagement Requirement for Medical Assistance
As Pennsylvania enters into another difficult budget season the time has come to begin addressing the cost drivers within the Commonwealth's operating budget. One of the largest drivers of our total budget is the state's Medical Assistance program.

In order to address the costs associated with Medicaid while still providing care for Pennsylvanians in need, I plan to introduce legislation instituting work and community engagement policies which historically have had bipartisan support. This idea draws from President Clinton's successful Welfare to Work program through and up to the current administration which recently put out guidelines promoting work and community engagement. The intention, is to further incentivize current enrollees who are able to work or serve our community to find employment, job training, or volunteer opportunities. Under these reforms not only will we help individuals and communities but also reduce Medicaid costs.

Yesterday, CMS sent a guidance letter to every state that highlights federal guidance on implementing work and community engagement policies under Section 1115(a) of the Social security Act. Just today, President Trump's administration approved the state of Kentucky's work requirement waiver for Medicaid.

Promoting work and community engagement policies have not only been successful in the past, but have been successfully implemented by other states over the past few years. A good example comes from Maine's changes to their food stamp program as work requirements not only reduced program costs, but it increased the number of people employed. Even those remaining on the program were required less public assistance than they had needed prior to the reforms due to higher levels of employment. The net result was approximately $30-$40 million in savings for taxpayers.

By submitting a new Medical Assistance Waiver which promotes bipartisan work and community engagement, the Commonwealth can save taxpayer money while improving healthcare outcomes.

Introduced as HB2024