Whether welfare programs and social insurance programs should incorporate behavioral
stipulations has long been debated throughout history. This debate resurfaces again with the
introduction of the opportunity for states to apply to Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS) to incorporate work requirements as a stipulation of eligibility to remain on Medicaid, the
joint state-federal health insurance program for low income individuals that is also the largest
source of health insurance in the nation. This is the first time in history that CMS has approved
work requirements. Previously they have denied requests stating that it did not align with the
goals of the Medicaid program (Department of Health and Human Services, 2016).
The policy change of Medicaid Work Requirements is an extremely important one due to the extent of potential impact these changes could have, coupled with the scope and reach of the Medicaid program. According to surveys completed by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2016, there were approximately 24.6 million non-SSI, non-elderly adults receiving Medicaid, with various work statuses and reasons for not working ranging from full and part time employment, caregiving responsibilities, illness, or currently furthering education (KFF, 2018) . This policy has the potential to drastically change how Medicaid recipients receive health care across the country, affecting millions of adults currently relying on Medicaid for their access to health care.