Last Thursday, the Trump Administration invited states to add a work requirement to Medicaid eligibility. States and the federal government jointly fund Medicaid, but states are responsible for running it. The federal government cannot impose work requirements without Congressional approval. However, states can impose a work requirement by requesting a waiver from the regulations for new programs that carry out the underlying mission of Medicaid. States do this by applying for a waiver and having it approved by the President. Hence, it is news when the President of the United States invites states to do this.
Presumably, the work requirement will exempt children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. There is hope that it will also exempt full-time students and family care-givers. Assuming all of these groups that currently receive Medicaid would be exempt under the new work requirement proposal that only leaves a small group that would be affected by it.
According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 1 in 10 people who receive Medicaid would be subjected to the work requirement. Kaiser research further shows that in the non-exempt populations, more than 50% of the adult Medicaid recipients who would not be covered by the exemption are already working. Thus, a relatively small portion of the individuals who receive Medicaid would be affected.