The desire to give to the needy has always been set against the necessity of discouraging freeloading. A Georgia law that sought to strike the proper balance has been struck down.
The Biden administration has barred the Peach State from imposing work or premium requirements on certain Medicaid recipients, The Hill reported. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Thursday that it was withdrawing its approval for the Trump-era rule.
“The lingering health consequences of COVID-19 infections further exacerbate the harms of these barriers to coverage for people with low income,” the CMS said for revoking the requirements. “Additionally, premiums can present a particular barrier to coverage,” it said.
“They can result in limited access to health care coverage for underserved communities, especially Black and low-income individuals compared to White and higher income peers,” CMS predictably claimed. When proposed, Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Trump had agreed it would be a way to encourage a work ethic in those who sought coverage.
“We are disappointed the Biden Administration chose to turn its back on a bipartisan group in the Georgia General Assembly that came together to help create a fair and balanced healthcare framework that increases options and lowers costs,” Katie Byrd, director of Communication for Kemp, said of the decision. “Though they attempted to hide behind the holiday in announcing two days before Christmas, we plan to challenge their misguided – likely political – decision in a court of law.”
Medicaid beneficiaries would be required to fulfill 80 of a work requirement either through a job or community service. In addition, recipients earning between 50% and 100% of the poverty level would have to kick in monthly premium payments.
The requirement had not yet gone into effect when it was quashed by President Joe Biden’s administration. Other similar requirements proposed in the past have likewise failed when challenged in the courts.
It’s not unreasonable to expect that any able-bodied individual collecting government benefits engage in some kind of work for it. However, it’s a delicate balance between encouraging responsible behavior and penalizing the poor for their economic condition.