National Council for Behavioral Health

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Stephanie Pellitt

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Trump Orders Review of Medicaid, Other Safety-Net Programs

April 12, 2018 | Medicaid | Comments
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On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to initiate a review of social safety-net programs, including Medicaid. The stated goal of the review is to have fewer individuals enrolled in Medicaid and other safety-net programs and increase their workforce participation. The order will likely provide momentum to Medicaid work requirement proposals from states and could expand to large-scale entitlement reform. The National Council strongly opposes work requirements and any other proposal that would seek to limit ability of individuals with mental illness and addiction to receive care through Medicaid.

In the executive order, President Trump directs Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other agencies to complete a top-to-bottom review of their safety-net programs. These programs include Medicaid, Section 8 housing assistance, food stamps, temporary cash assistance and more. The order also encourages agencies to allow individual states to have more control in administering safety-net programs.

Safety-net programs, particularly Medicaid, are vital for helping individuals with mental illness and addiction live healthy and independent lives in the community and avoid hospitalizations, incarceration and homelessness. The President’s move mirrors the trend of federal and state proposals to restrict Medicaid enrollment through new policies such as work requirements, drug testing, lock out periods and more.

While the timeline for these reviews is not yet clear, the National Council will alert advocates when opportunities to speak out against proposals that would harm behavioral health populations arise.