Arise: Medicaid work rules would end coverage for 75K in state

Published 1:51 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Alabama Arise Citizens’ Policy Project is encouraging those concerned about health care issues in Alabama – particularly health care for the poor – to respond to the state’s plan to drastically change Medicaid.

Mike Nicholson, Southeast Alabama organizer for Arise, said Gov. Key Ivey wants to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

A similar proposal was defeated in the Alabama legislature, Nicholson said.

“Now they’re trying to do it administratively,” he said.

Specifically, the proposed change would affect 75,000 parents and caretakers of children and relatives. To qualify for Medicaid, their income would have to be less than $312 a month for a family of three.

“We’re talking about people who make less than $312 per month because they are working at home taking care of others,” he said.

However, if those caregivers worked the minimum proposed time in the proposed work requirement, they would no longer qualify for Medicaid, Nicholson said. Basically, the Medicaid recipients would lose benefits by not working, and working the minimum amount of time at minimum wage would mean they earned too much to qualify.

“This is a blatant attempt to kick people off the Medicaid rolls,” Nicholson said.

Ninety percent of Alabamians who receive Medicaid are children living in poverty, or the disabled.

“This targets people who work at home taking care of families,” he said.

Federal policy requires public feedback before changes such as this one are made, Nicholson said. The Alabama Medicaid Commission posted the proposals to its web site, but told no one.

“We and the Southern Poverty Law Center managed to get 800 people to leave comments, over 90 percent of which were negative. We requested instead of a report of the comments, that they send the actual comments to Washington,” he said.

The feds said there were problems with the proposal and sent it back for more comments, Nicholson said. The proposal is now in a second comment period.

Nicholson said Kentucky, which approved a similar work requirement, is in a lawsuit over changes to the program now.

Arise is encouraging people to provide feedback to Alabama Medicaid prior to Aug. 30.

There is a direct link to the comment site at

ACPP is a nonpartisan coalition of congregations, organizations and individuals who share the vision of an Alabama where all residents have enough food, education, health care and economic opportunity to live happy, productive lives.