Washington, DC — Today, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster alongside CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced the approval of burdensome new Medicaid work requirements on South Carolinians enrolled in the program. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement: 

“South Carolina Republicans ought to be ashamed of themselves with their latest move to gut the state’s Medicaid program by instituting brutal so-called ‘work requirements’ on people who so desperately need access to health care. Make no mistake, this is just another attempt by the Trump administration and state Republicans to sabotage our health care system and kick people off the Medicaid rolls. Even after similar work requirement laws were recently struck down by the courts and proven ineffective, the Trump administration continues to be hellbent on pursuing this draconian policy that put Americans’ health care in harm’s way.

“Medicaid provides life-saving care for more than 900,000 South Carolinans, and if Governor McMaster were serious about expanding health care for his constituents, he would have expanded Medicaid instead of doubling down on trying to destroy the program.”

BACKGROUND

Work Requirements Have Repeatedly Been Struck Down In Court. Judge James Boasberg with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia blocked Arkansas and Kentucky’s work requirement programs in March 2019, deeming the approvals of these proposals as “arbitrary and capricious.” The same judge struck down work requirements in New Hampshire, finding that once again the Trump administration failed to consider how many beneficiaries would lose coverage. 

More Than 18,000 Lost Coverage In Arkansas After The State Imposed Work Requirements. Arkansas was the first state to be allowed to implement Medicaid work requirements and resulted in more than 18,000 losing coverage. In addition to devastating coverage losses, several studies of the program have since revealed that there was little to no evidence the the work requirement actually helped individuals find jobs. A GAO analysis found that the state and federal government spent at least $26 million implementing the failed mandate. 

Work Requirements Cost More And Cover Less. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, these onerous requirements could take health care away from up to 4 Million Americans.  Meanwhile, a recent GAO report found that the administrative costs to implement the failed work requirement programs in five states topped $400 million.

More Than One Million Children Nationwide Have Already Lost Coverage Due To Trump-Backed Efforts To Restrict Medicaid Access. As more than a million children disappeared from Medicaid rolls between 2017 and 2018, health care experts pointed to a “chilling effect” from Trump’s signature policies, including work requirements and frequent eligibility checks. Joan Alker, Executive Director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, said: “This serious erosion of children’s health coverage is due in large part to the Trump Administration’s actions that have made health care harder to access and have deterred families from enrolling their children.”