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Arizona Could Be Next State To Add Medicaid Work Requirements

Arizona could soon join a growing number of states to require some of those enrolled in Medicaid to work.

State health officials submitted the request to the federal government in December.

Arizona has tried unsuccessfully to add work requirements to its Medicaid program, known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, before. But that could change under the Trump administration.

Kentucky, Indiana and now Arkansas have recently gained approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“Arizona’s one of the states that everybody is looking at as the next candidate,” said Swapna Reddy, a professor of health care policy at Arizona State University.

Arizona’s requirement would apply to adults between the ages of 19 and 55 who do not have a disability or qualify for other exemptions.

“We have lots of evidence that when you create administrative barriers within the Medicaid program you do actually lose people. What we don’t actually have evidence for is if these kinds of work requirements and these five year lifetime caps work,” Reddy said.

Reddy said it is estimated about 10 percent of the Medicaid population nationally would be affected.

Supporters of Medicaid work requirements, however, say the goal is to get more people off Medicaid because they have employment.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.