“Individuals must be healthy in order to work, and consistent access to health coverage and care is vital to being healthy enough to work.”

That’s an about-face from the agency’s position during the administration of Republican President Donald Trump when Holcomb’s Medicaid work requirement was hailed as a potential national model by then-HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

“Healthy, fulfilling lives require not just health coverage, and health care, but also a sense of purpose, often obtained through work,” Azar said. “It recognizes that Medicaid can become a pathway out of poverty, paving the way for better, long-term health for all enrollees.”

At the time, CMS was led by Seema Verma, a Hoosier consultant who helped design the Healthy Indiana Plan in 2015, during the administration of Republican Gov. Mike Pence, as an alternative to traditional Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Even though a voluntary HIP job training component failed to attract many participants when Pence was governor, Verma in her CMS role quickly authorized the HIP work mandate when Holcomb submitted it for federal approval five months after taking office in 2017.

Holcomb said Monday he’s disappointed the federal government has withdrawn approval for Gateway to Work, which he said “had the potential to help so many Hoosiers.”

Source News