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Work requirement added to plan to close Idaho coverage gap

A proposal to reduce Idaho’s health coverage gap now includes a requirement that “able-bodied” adult Medicaid recipients hold jobs.

The legislation, introduced Tuesday, would allow the state to seek two federal waivers to the Affordable Care Act.

One waiver would allow low-income individuals to qualify for subsidies available to higher-income individuals. The other would expand Medicaid eligibility to make room for 12 serious and costly medical conditions.

According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the new work requirement will affect an estimated 700 of the 78,000 adults receiving Medicaid in Idaho. That’s because eligibility is restricted to children in poor families, people with disabilities and the elderly.

However, health advocacy groups have raised concerns the work requirements creates additional barriers for Idahoans trying to access care.

Liz Woodruff, of Idaho Voices for Children, says her organization’s support of the dual waiver plan is now tentative.

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