WASHINGTON — Today, Senators Mike Braun, Todd Young, Mitt Romney, Marsha Blackburn, Bill Hagerty, and Jim Inhofe introduced the Let States Innovate Under Medicaid Act.

This legislation authorizes 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.

“States should be able to set standards for their Medicaid programs, as they know how to best tailor programs for their constituents. This commonsense policy allows theHoosier State to design programs that provide Medicaid enrollees with community engagement activities that can improve health outcomes and reduce dependence on medical assistance. Additionally, my legislation will prevent the Biden Administration from recklessly revoking approved state waivers, and prevent them from taking power away from local and state elected leaders only to further concentrate such power with Washington bureaucrats.”— Senator Mike Braun

“Medicaid should ideally be available as a temporary option, with a goal of preparing individuals for a life of dignity in the workforce. Work and community engagement activities, such as those that Indiana previously had in place, are designed to improve quality of life over the long term and help individuals transition to full employment. CMS’s decision earlier this year to revoke Indiana’s ability to set these expectations for some Medicaid recipients treats work as a punishment and discourages efforts to transition to self-reliance. That’s why I joined my colleagues to introduce the Let States Innovate Under Medicaid Act to allow states the opportunity to innovate under the Medicaid program, with the objective of preparing individuals for a life of independence in the workforce.”— Senator Todd Young

“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 Mitt Romney

“The Biden administration’s policies are driven by top-down federal government overreach, and their approach to Medicaid will only further this agenda. Their policies will result in less flexibility for states like Tennessee to care for the most vulnerable populations including the poor and people with disabilities."— Senator Marsha Blackburn  

“This legislation would allow Tennessee the opportunity to innovate and adapt Medicaid to further protect this program and the vulnerable populations it serves. Giving states the freedom to choose what works best for their needs is what makes America such a great nation. I’m pleased to join Senator Braun in introducing this important legislation.”— Senator Bill Hagerty

“Over the past year, Republican states have proven they do a fantastic job at getting people back to work—17 of the top 20 states for jobs recovered since the coronavirus pandemic began are led by Republican governors, but the Biden administration continues to try and derail these efforts. Their latest scheme? Preventing states from continuing to serve Medicaid patients through 1115 waivers if they implement common sense work requirements. Hardworking Oklahomans agree: if you get federal benefits like Medicaid, you need to work or participate in community engagement. I’m pleased to join Sen. Braun in introducing legislation that will protect Oklahoma’s and other states’ ability to manage their Medicaid programs.”— Senator Jim Inhofe

BACKGROUND  

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 9 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.

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Issues