American Diabetes Association Disappointed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Recent Decision to Approve Wisconsins 1115 Medicaid Waiver Imposing Work Requirements

American Diabetes Association's picture


Michelle Kirkwood


Arlington, Virginia
November 9, 2018

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is deeply disappointed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) decision to approve Wisconsin’s request to implement harmful changes to its Medicaid program imposing work requirements on enrollees. 

Access to affordable, adequate health coverage is critically important for all people with, and at risk for, diabetes. Over 428,000 of Wisconsin residents are already diagnosed with diabetes—a complex, chronicdescribes something that is long-lasting. Opposite of acute.X illness requiring continuous medical care. Adults with diabetes are also disproportionately covered by Medicaid across the United States, a program providing medical assistance to those who cannot afford the costs of medically necessary services.  For low-income individuals, access to Medicaid coverage is essential to managing their health.  

Each of the changes Wisconsin will make to its Medicaid program—imposing work requirements as a condition of Medicaid eligibility; keeping individuals from re-enrolling after they are unable to pay monthly premiums; and charging higher monthly premiums based on enrollees’ answers to a health risk assessment—is contrary to the fundamental intent of the program and will block access to necessary health care. Combined, these changes are disastrous, especially for the almost 150,000 Wisconsin residents this will affect.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly eight in 10 non-disabled adults with Medicaid coverage live in working families, and nearly 60% are working themselvesThe Heritage Foundation and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have concluded that rather than encouraging employment, instituting work requirements as a condition of Medicaid eligibility will lead to higher uninsured rates and higher emergency room visits by uninsured individuals who would have been eligible for Medicaid coverage. In Arkansas, similar work requirements have caused thousands to lose Medicaid coverage in just four months since their waiver was implemented.   

Requiring Medicaid applicants to disclose whether they engage in certain “desired” behaviors chosen by the state and charging those who do not twice as much as other Medicaid enrollees will not achieve Wisconsin’s goal of improving health outcomes. Rather, Wisconsin is imposing a financial burden that will inhibit low-income individuals from obtaining Medicaid coverage and accessing necessary heath care services.

While we are greatly disappointed in CMS’ decision to approve these harmful changes to the Wisconsin Medicaid program, the ADA remains committed to working with CMS and state Medicaid departments to ensure everyone with and at risk for diabetes has access to high quality, affordable health care, regardless of income, employment, or health status.

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About the American Diabetes Association

Approximately every 21 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes. Nearly half of the American adult population has diabetes or prediabetes, and more than 30 million adults and children are living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization on a mission to prevent and cure diabetes, as well as improve the lives of all people affected by the disease. For nearly 80 years, the ADA has driven discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. Magnifying the urgency of this epidemic, the ADA works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with the illness, those at risk of developing diabetes and the health care professionals who serve them by initiating programs, advocacy and education efforts that can lead to improved health outcomes and quality of life. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit us at Information is available in English and Spanish. Join the conversation with us on , and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).

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