Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker is waiting to hear if President Donald Trump's administration will let Wisconsin require childless adults on Medicaid to work, undergo drug screening and meet other requirements. 


Wisconsin is still waiting to see if the federal government will let it require childless adults on Medicaid to be screened for drugs and work if they are able.

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration also asked in June to add premiums and co-pays for some adults without dependent children on Medicaid, which the federal government also must authorize.

The changes, which Walker said would help people move from public assistance to the workforce, can’t start until a year after approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS.

“We are still in talks with CMS,” state Department of Health spokeswoman Elizabeth Goodsitt said. “There is no timeline for approval.”

Donald Trump’s administration said last month it was planning to let Wisconsin and other states require able-bodied people on Medicaid to work or do other activities, such as train for a job or do community service.

“We see people moving off of Medicaid as a good outcome,” said CMS head Seema Verma.

So far, federal officials have approved a work requirement only in Kentucky, through what is called a waiver. A group of Kentucky residents sued, saying CMS had effectively rewritten federal law instead of letting the state test new ideas as allowed under the program.

“These new policies will definitely test the bounds of administrative discretion on how waivers can be used,” Robin Rudowitz, a Medicaid expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said Friday. “Throughout the history of waivers, the focus has generally been on expanding coverage to new people.”

Nationally, most working-age adults on Medicaid are already employed, according to Kaiser. Nearly 60 percent work full time or part time, mainly for employers that don’t offer health insurance.

Most of those who don’t work report illness, disability, care-giving responsibilities or going to school. Only 7 percent of Medicaid recipients would fall under the new work requirements, Kaiser found.

Under Walker’s proposal, childless adults on Medicaid would have to submit to a drug test or enter drug treatment if drug screening called for it.

Able-bodied people under 50 would lose coverage after four years if they didn’t work or do similar activities.

Nearly 148,000 of the 784,000 people on BadgerCare, Wisconsin’s main Medicaid program, are childless adults, who must make $12,140 a year or less to qualify. Nearly 1.2 million residents are on some form of Medicaid.

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(4) comments


Most true 'entitlements' go to the wealthy in the form of tax credits etc. That just doesn't seem to matter to them, they'd just rather blame everyone else. It is such a shame that this hatefulness persists - especially while they also CLAIM to be 'christians'. It's obvious they have never really read and contemplated on the Bible where it repeatedly reminds us that those of us that have must take care of our neighbor -guess they miss that part - if they ever opened a bible. I am so tired of the hatefulness that Walker and his cronies spew constantly. Disgusting!


I don't understand that Walker doesn't want medicaid or other safety net benefits to be permanent. Ok how about these politicians, many who are career politicians, get tested for drugs and start paying for their own insurance. Politicians are the biggest moochers off the tax payers. time they get tested and pay their own way!

El Duderino

I’m not sure what’s shameful about trying to prevent welfare from becoming a way-of-life vs. a safety net/hand-up.

I’m 100% supportive of helping my fellow citizens out in times of need. Whether it’s a job loss, a serious personal illness with them or their immediate family, I want to help and am glad to see my tax dollars go toward doing so.

I also find the idea of drug testing unnecessary, demeaning, and irrelevant.

The requirement for parents of minor children should be a lower threshold; there are too many variables when kids are involved to hold them to a 30 hour/week standard. It’s going to require staff to provide oversight on a state level, I’d imagine. So if their 4th grader is home sick for 2-3 consecutive days, and they can’t reach their 30 hour quota, what happens?

With all that being said, I don’t want to see someone who is capable of working taking advantage of the system. Freebies turn into dependency, and that ultimately harms not only taxpayers but the person not contributing. I think 30 hrs/wk is an extremely low bar to meet.

I see “hiring” signs frequently. It might not be a career destination job, but we do what we need to do in times of crisis.. what public assistance should be reserved for.


We have learned from the GOP that poor people are different than the rest of us. Although science, fact and data confirms that we are all alike, the GOP will have it no other way. Let the Great Wisconsin Shame Game begin.

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