U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and his colleagues, Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Todd Young (R-IN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), introduced the Let States Innovate Under Medicaid Act, legislation to authorize a framework to allow innovation under Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration project waivers. Specifically, it would include “work or community engagement requirements” as an acceptable practice that furthers the objectives of the Medicaid program, thereby prohibiting the CMS administrator from denying a 1115 waiver on the basis that work or community engagement requirements do not further the objectives of the Medicaid program.
“This legislation will give states like Utah more freedom and flexibility to best manage their Medicaid program, help people seek opportunities for community engagement, and continue to provide health coverage to those who depend on it,” Senator Romney said.
“This is an important bill, and we appreciate Senator Romney’s work to get more flexibility for states like Utah that are trying to improve the Medicaid program and help people find a job and become self-sufficient,” Governor Cox said.
In February 2021, at the direction of the Biden Administration, CMS began efforts to withdraw work requirement waiver authorities in several states that had either been previously approved, or had a pending application, to implement work requirements. CMS is continuing to review some states’ work requirement waivers, but has already been successful in officially withdrawing waiver authorities in nine States—Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin.
Additionally, other states have voluntarily withdrawn work requirements from their waiver applications or have postponed the implementation of work requirements because of the uncertainty concerning Medicaid work and community engagement programs. CMS based its decision to withdraw waiver authorities in the 9 states on the basis that “work or community engagement requirements” do not further the objectives of the Medicaid program.