Conservative governors taking up Trump challenge to rework Medicaid; Wisconsin drug testing plan passes hurdle

Medicaid
States are following in Wisconsin's footsteps, mulling drug testing and work requirements for Medicaid recipients. (Getty/juststock)

At the federal level, the fate of Medicaid is uncertain—President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts have drawn fire and the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act hasn’t received a warm welcome in the Senate, to say the least.

But at the state level, conservative governors are starting to rework Medicaid programs on their own.

In Wisconsin, Medicaid beneficiaries could face drug testing, work requirements and new premiums and copayments under a plan put forth by Republican Governor Scott Walker. Parts of that plan just got a green light from a state budget panel, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

RELATED: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker unveils Medicaid drug testing, work requirement plans

The panel scaled back the governor’s proposal by applying the work requirement to parents using food stamps in certain regions of the state between April 2019 and June 2020. It also said the requirements can’t be applied statewide without further evaluation.

States across the nation, including Indiana, Arizona and Kentucky, are taking the Trump administration up on its challenge to redesign Medicaid programs. They’re poised to follow in Wisconsin’s footsteps with monthly premiums for people below the poverty line, time limits for coverage and fees for emergency room visits, The Washington Post reported.

All of the proposals require federal approval.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said aid to the poor should not be a one-way handout. Still, he told the Post, requiring work makes less sense for Medicaid than for food stamps, welfare or public housing programs.

“You really can’t deny medical care to a sick person,” he told the Post. “There is no feasible way to do that.”