Oklahoma will develop a plan within the next six months on how to add work requirements into its Medicaid program.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) on Tuesday issued an executive order requiring the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which manages the state’s Medicaid program, to file the plans to her and the state legislature.
Oklahoma joins a list of than 10 states that have expressed interest in adding the requirement — or have already received federal approval — that people who are getting Medicaid benefits work or participate in other activities, such as job training and volunteering.
“We in Oklahoma should require people who receive Medicaid assistance to work, if they are able,” Fallin said in a press release. “A core objective of the Medicaid program is to help low-income families and individuals attain capability for independence. Work requirements in other welfare programs have helped move individuals from welfare to work.”
In January, the Trump administration released guidance aimed at allowing states to impose work requirements for beneficiaries of Medicaid, which marked a major shift for the health insurance program for low-income and disabled Americans.
Democrats decry the move as an attempt to push people out of the Medicaid program, which they say is against Medicaid’s objectives. The administration has argued that having a job improves people’s health and wellbeing.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has approved work requirements in three states: Indiana, Kentucky and Arkansas. Each state expanded Medicaid to people under ObamaCare; Oklahoma has not chosen to participate in the law’s Medicaid expansion.
Fallin’s executive order suggested exempting certain people from the work requirement, such as those under 19 and over 64, pregnant women, those participating in an addiction treatment programs, and .