New Hampshire Legal Assistance

Helping to balance the scales of justice for everyone since 1971.

Study: NH's work requirements don't work

Posted Feb 14, 2020

A new study concludes that New Hampshire’s attempt to avoid Arkansas’ missteps in implementing Medicaid work requirements were no better - and equally dangerous.  

Kay Drought, NHLA managing attorney and litigation director, and Dawn McKinney, our policy director, provided insight to the Urban Institute, a nonprofit economic and social policy research nonprofit, on the study released this week.  

NHLA fought the state’s new work requirements in 2018 and 2019 at the Legislature and in federal court. A federal judge blocked New Hampshire’s requirement in July. 

McKinney’s takeaway  “I think it’s safe to say after New Hampshire’s experience that work requirements don't work."

In June 2019, New Hampshire began requiring Medicaid recipients to show they were working, volunteering, or attending school 100 hours a month to maintain benefits, the second state to do so after Arkansas. Aware that Arkansas’ work requirements were being challenged in federal court, New Hampshire took a different approach, launching a work support program and offering Medicaid recipients several avenues for reporting work hours. 

The study found those weren’t sufficient to protect Medicaid beneficiaries. Like Arkansas, which disenrolled 18,000 recipients in six months, New Hampshire was on track to disenroll 17,000 Medicaid recipients in just two months. 

Study: NH Medicaid Work Requirements