At a health care symposium this week, Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), reaffirmed her agency’s commitment to keeping Medicaid available to its recipients without any lifetime limits or caps. Her statement follows her earlier rejection of a request by Kansas to cap Medicaid services in the state.
“We’ve indicated we would not approve lifetime limits, and we’ve made that pretty clear to states,” she said at the event sponsored by The Washington Post.
Four other states had been angling for Medicaid caps: Arizona, Maine, Utah and Wisconsin.
The administration, however, has allowed states to impose a work requirement on the able-bodied — get job training, do community work, or get a job if you want to stay on Medicaid.
Overall, the push has been to give the states more latitude and authority over their programs, Verma said.
“I hope to get to a new era where states are driving their programs, and they are deciding what is going to work best in their communities, because they are closest to the people they serve,” she said. “And we can hold states accountable for shaping outcomes so we can measure what they are doing.”
Medicaid is a state-federal partnership that was expanded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) to those making up to 138 percent of the federally defined poverty level, adding millions to the rolls as 31 states and the District of Columbia joined the program with generous federal funding.