Utah will still not be allowed to require Medicaid recipients to work, even though the president has offered Utah Gov. Gary Herbert more flexibility on the issue, federal officials said Wednesday.
U.S. Health and Human Services Department spokesman Ben Wakana said “encouraging work is a legitimate state objective” and the agency looks forward to continuing negotiations with Herbert over Medicaid expansion.
“However, work initiatives are not the purpose of the Medicaid program and cannot be a condition of Medicaid eligibility,” Wakana said.
Herbert originally sought a work requirement as part of his alternative to expanding the state-federal health care program. Instead, he reached a deal with federal officials late last year that would allow some Medicaid recipients to be enrolled in job-search and training programs, but they’d be able to opt-out.