Donald Trump is trying to do by administrative fiat what his Republican enablers in Congress could not: Destroy Medicaid as we know it.1
The Trump administration recently announced that states could impose labor requirements on people who receive health care through Medicaid. Not only does this rip the heart out of Medicaidâ€™s coverage guarantee, it robs health care from people who cannot work because of a chronic condition or because they care for loved ones.2
Some states have declared they will refuse to help Trump destroy Medicaid, but others â€“ like Kentucky â€“ are jumping on board.3 We desperately need to convince our nationâ€™s governors that they will face a backlash if they collaborate with Trump to end Medicaid.
All Trump has done is open a loophole big enough to drive a truck through. States still have to choose to impose labor in return for health care. That is where we come in: If we can demonstrate that people are as outraged by this sneak attack as they were about Republican attempts to end Medicaid through Trumpcare, even some right-wing governors could decide it is not worth the political trouble.
Make no mistake, Trump is trying to destroy Medicaid. The core of Medicaidâ€™s mandate is to make sure even people trapped in poverty can access doctors, medical care and long-term health care coverage. Imposing labor, which Republicans euphemistically call â€śwork requirements,â€ť undermines Medicaid's mission. It is also a backdoor attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid access.4
Worst of all, these changes will kill people. Losing health care coverage results in people losing their lives. Republicans are trying to demonize Medicaid as welfare even though nearly all participants are already working. Recent studies prove that "able-bodied" Medicaid participants who are not working are either providing care for a loved one or are actually disabled â€“ since states can choose to ignore some chronic conditions or mental illness in their definitions of "able-bodied."5
Right now, governors and state legislatures are weighing whether requiring labor in exchange for health care helps or hurts them politically. We need to remind them that doing so is not just politically foolish, it is absolutely immoral.
Past Democratic and Republican administrations have agreed that states, which administer Medicaid programs, cannot force people into labor. But suddenly, Trump is trying to change all that. In fact, the new administrative guidance strongly implies that this administration will authorize any labor requirement, no matter how stringent. States could decide that people with long-term conditions have to work, anyway. Or, they could steal health care coverage from people who cannot work because they serve as caregivers for loved ones â€“ a move that could disproportionately hurt women of color, who are more likely to care for family.6
Donald Trump is leaning on false, racialized stereotypes about lazy welfare beneficiaries to gin up hatred and steal health care from countless Americans. The ultimate goal is to leave Americans dependent on big corporations and cruel bosses for their very survival. We cannot let that happen.
Tell governors: Donâ€™t help Trump destroy Medicaid. Click below to sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out,
Murshed Zaheed, Political Director
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1. Dylan Scott, â€ś,â€ť Vox, Jan. 12, 2017.