Getting to Work in Maine

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The state plans to adopt reforms, including a work requirement, that will concentrates spending on the neediest cases.

The state of Maine has long been on the leading edge of welfare reform. Under Governor Paul LePage, it has reformed its food-stamp program by promoting work, resulting in former enrollees’ more than doubling their incomes the following year. Maine has also worked tirelessly to find and prosecute welfare fraud, going after those who steal limited resources from the people who most need help.

These efforts, combined with Maine’s rejection of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, have allowed the state to make the truly needy a priority. But Maine’s not slowing down.

In August, the state submitted a Medicaid-reform waiver to the Trump administration. If approved, the waiver will allow the state to make several important changes to its Medicaid program — asset tests, premiums, and allowing providers to charge enrollees for missed appointments. But of all the proposed reforms, none are as important or transformational as work requirements.