Friday, August 19, 2016

Nonprofits question Kentucky wish to require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to do volunteer work

Gov. Matt Bevin speaks as Medicaid advisers listen.
(Lexington Herald-Leader photo by Charles Bertram)
The new Kentucky governor, a Republican who first said while campaigning that he would abolish the Medicaid expansion of his Democratic predecessor, now wants to require able-bodied adults in the expansion to do volunteer work. That isn't sitting well with the Kentucky Nonprofit Network, which represents nearly 600 of the state’s nonprofit groups, because it would mean tens of thousands of people would "need training, supervision and—in some instances—criminal-background checks," John Cheves reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

As part of the state's request for a federal waiver to tighten eligibility standards for the 440,000 Kentuckians who obtained health insurance through the expansion, one of the requirements Bevin "wants to include is 'community engagement' for able-bodied adults, requiring them to work, search for a job, be enrolled in classes or volunteer in their communities in order to remain in Medicaid. The state estimates these requirements could affect roughly 215,000 people," many of whom live in rural areas, some with few volunteer opportunities.

Danielle Clore, executive director of the Kentucky Nonprofit Network, "said members of her organization have limited budgets," Cheves writes. "Many cannot afford to manage a much larger staff. Some do not have enough space or work for so many additional people, Clore said. In sparsely populated rural counties, only a handful of nonprofit groups operate, she said. And some groups that work with children or the elderly require volunteers to pass a criminal-background check, which costs money and raises questions for Medicaid recipients with legal problems in their past, Clore said."

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