Gov. Janet Mills has decided not to accept a federal Section 1115 waiver that would have allowed the state to impose work requirements as a condition for receiving MaineCare. Instead, Mills says that she will increase coordination between the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services to promote more access vocational training and workforce support services for low-income MaineCare recipients.

“Maine’s low unemployment rate, its widely dispersed population, and our lowest per capita income in New England make mandates – without appropriate supports like vocational training and specific exemptions for groups like people undergoing treatment – problematic,” wrote Mills in a letter to Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “We believe that the likely result of this 1115 demonstration would leave more Maine people uninsured without improving their participation in the workforce.”

Mills noted that in Arkansas, which was first state to implement Medicaid work requirements, nearly several thousand people lost their health care coverage due to the mandate. The Arkansas policy is currently being challenged in court.