INDIANA – Senator Mike Braun, Senator Todd Young, Representative Trey Hollingsworth, Congresswoman Victoria Spartz, Congressman Larry Bucshon, Representative Greg Pence, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Congressman Jim Baird, and Representative Jim Banks Thursday sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra expressing their disapproval of the Biden administration’s decision to revoke the Gateway to Work program, which would require certain able-bodied adult Healthy Indiana Plan members to report 20 hours of work, job training, volunteering, or school activities each month.
Exemptions to this community engagement requirement include students, pregnant women, the disabled, those over 60 or medically frail, and other reasons.
“We write today to express our dismay that, under your watch, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) withdrew authorities enjoyed by the State of Indiana through its Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) that permit our state to determine appropriate work and community engagement requirements for its Medicaid recipients,” Senators Braun, Young and Representatives Hollingsworth, Spartz, Bucshon, Pence, Walorski, Baird, and Banks write in their letter to Secretary Becerra.
Indiana was granted a waiver by the Trump Administration to design programs that provide Medicaid enrollees with community engagement activities to improve their quality of life in the long-term. Similar — but not identical — requirements have been struck down in recent years in other states such as New Hampshire, Arkansas, and Kentucky, but by federal courts — not federal agency bureaucrats.
“It is curious that HHS and CMS are curtailing the ability of our state to innovate in the best interest of Hoosiers, and resorting to fear tactics that paint a misleading impression that the Gateway to Work program will result in ‘significant coverage losses and harm to beneficiaries.’ This statement is far from the truth and ignores the extensive list of individuals exempt from participating in Gateway to Work, including students, pregnant women, the medically frail or incapacitated, caregivers, the disabled, those over 60, those with a Substance Use Disorder, TANF/SNAP recipients, and others.”
The Indiana representatives note in their letter that Gateway to Work program is intended to put Hoosiers receiving Medicaid through the Healthy Indiana Plan on the path toward gainful employment:
“Our state has low unemployment, employers looking to hire, educational and training opportunities abound, and yet your agency is making decisions to curtail our state’s ability to connect our Medicaid recipients to a network of community engagement that makes sense for Hoosiers.”