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SPLC statement on Alabama's proposal for Medicaid work requirements

The proposal from Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and Alabama Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients is a solution in search of a problem.

It is based on an absolute falsehood and vilification of those who are on Medicaid.

We will not improve the health of people in our state, nor will we improve the state’s economy, by forcing people to work when they are not healthy. This proposal would unnecessarily increase the burdens of the working poor, and end up costing the state more money by cutting people from the Medicaid rolls and forcing them and their families to use emergency rooms – subsidized by taxpayers – for routine health services.

Imposing work requirements also stands on tenuous legal grounds. The Alabama Medicaid Agency, which will have only two statewide meetings for public comments next week – a mere six days after it announced this new plan – should not open itself to potential costly litigation by submitting its waiver application.

In January, the SPLC filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services after they approved a Medicaid waiver request from the state of Kentucky that will endanger the health care of tens of thousands of low-income individuals and families in that state.

Alabama’s proposal would also result in large numbers of low-income individuals and families losing health care coverage. The state’s own numbers suggest that in five years, 15,000 individuals will have lost coverage. That’s 20 percent of those who would otherwise be covered.

We will stand by these individuals and defend their right to enroll in this state’s Medicaid program.

Notice: The state of Alabama will conduct public hearings on the Medicaid program at the following dates, times and locations:

Monday, March 5 at 11 a.m.
Alabama Industrial Development and Training (AIDT) Auditorium
One Technology Court
Montgomery, Alabama 36116
To join this meeting by phone, call 800-230-1059.
Confirmation Number: 445471#

Tuesday, March 6 at 11 a.m.
Hoover Public Library Auditorium
200 Municipal Dr.
Hoover, Alabama 35216