Federal panel calls for pause on Arkansas Medicaid rule

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A federal advisory panel is urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to temporarily stop Arkansas from enforcing the state's work requirement for Medicaid expansion enrollees.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission sent a letter to the department on Thursday about the number of Arkansas residents who have lost health coverage by failing to comply with the state's work requirement.

Arkansas implemented a work requirement in June for enrollees who became eligible for Medicaid when the state extended eligibility in 2014. These enrollees must spend and report 80 hours a month on work or approved activities or face termination from the program.

The commission is calling for a pause in disenrollment to modify the program, citing concerns that some enrollees may be struggling to report because of Internet access issues.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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