South Carolina Is the 10th State to Impose Medicaid Work Requirements

A coalition of groups opposed to work requirements criticized South Carolina on Thursday for becoming “the first state in the nation to exclusively impose the harmful policy of work requirements on low-income parents with children.”

The coalition, which includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Defense Fund, the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the March of Dimes, said in a statement that the requirement “adds red tape burdens that will fall squarely on parents’ shoulders.”

“Children rely on healthy parents and caregivers to help them meet their health and developmental needs,” the statement went on, “and this waiver will make it harder for parents to be there for their children.”

A federal judge struck down work requirements in three of the nine other states that introduced them — Arkansas, Kentucky and New Hampshire. Only Arkansas had already put them into effect. All three states have appealed, although Kentucky’s new Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, who was sworn in this week, has said he will rescind the work rules.

Many of the six other states — Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin — have voluntarily put their work requirements on hold; Indiana and Michigan have also been sued over them.

The Arkansas work rule led to more than 18,000 people there losing coverage before Judge James E. Boasberg of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, blocked it in March. Even many who did work had not kept up with or even learned about the reporting requirements. There, as in Kentucky and New Hampshire, Judge Boasberg ruled that federal health officials had failed to adequately consider the impact of the rules on people with Medicaid coverage.

The rules require “able-bodied” adults to report to the state every month that they have worked, searched or trained for a job, taken classes or volunteered in order to keep receiving Medicaid health coverage, which is largely free. Ms. Verma has said such activities can improve people’s health and help them “rise out of poverty and government dependence.”