South Dakota still waiting on request to make some Medicaid recipients work or take classes

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Remember when the state Department of Social Services decided more than a year ago to ask for a federal waiver, so South Dakota could make some Medicaid recipients seek jobs or get more education, as a condition to keep getting benefits?

Department officials submitted the request in August 2018 to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. They’re still waiting for an answer fifteen months later, according to a spokeswoman. Medicaid is a federal-state program that provides financial assistance to lower-income households.

Meanwhile two other states, Kentucky and Arkansas, that wanted to start work and education requirements are tied up in federal courts and haven’t been able to start their programs. A three-judge panel from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard their cases last week.

In South Dakota, then-Governor Dennis Daugaard wanted the requirements applied to working-able men and women in Minnehaha and Pennington counties because those areas have the most jobs available on a regular basis. An estimated 732 households in Minnehaha and 569 in Pennington would have been affected.

Those households had 1,183 with one parent and 118 with two parents, with 169 men and 1,132 women heading the households and 2,324 children in them at the time.

“South Dakota’s Career Connector 1115 demonstration waiver was submitted to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in August 2018. CMS has not yet approved the waiver,” Tia Kafka, communications director for the state Department of Social Services, said in a statement Tuesday.

“We have not received any communication from CMS regarding the recent federal court rulings in relationship to South Dakota’s proposal. South Dakota’s proposal seeks to pilot employment and employment training requirements in Minnehaha and Pennington counties for a targeted group of able-bodied Medicaid recipients ages 19-59,” Kafka continued.

“There is no statutory timeframe for CMS to approve this type of waiver. At this time, we are unaware of the impact of the Arkansas-Kentucky cases,” she said.

Sixteen states have work waivers approved or pending at CMS.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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