Manatt's Deborah Bachrach, a partner in the firm's Healthcare Division, spoke to The Philadelphia Inquirer about Pennsylvania's work-search requirement that was outlined in its Medicaid expansion proposal, which has not yet been approved by the federal government.
As reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has backed off his insistence that a work-search requirement be included in any expansion of Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians. Instead, he has suggested turning the work-search requirement into a voluntary, one-year pilot program. Corbett has said that he used as a model the alternative Medicaid expansion that was approved for Arkansas last year.
The Pennsylvania proposal goes further, said Bachrach, who consulted on the Arkansas plan.
While not mandatory, the new work-search offer would encourage work or searching for work by potentially reducing premiums up to 40 percent. The premiums themselves, while small, could be an issue, Bachrach said.
"Up until now," she said, the federal government "has not permitted a state to condition eligibility on payment of premiums," although it did allow Iowa and Michigan to charge premiums without punishment for nonpayment - an obligation without enforcement.
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