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Vox Sentences: The Trump administration opens up the “Wild West” of Medicaid work requirements

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The Trump administration endorses controversial work requirements for Medicaid; there are mass arrests in Tunisia as protests continue over increased taxes and fees.

There’s a new battle over Medicaid

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • The Trump administration is giving states the green light to change how they consider eligibility for Medicaid, a seismic shift for the federal health insurance program for the nation’s poor. [NPR / Alison Kodjak]
  • Under the recently announced change, states can design eligibility requirements for people to get Medicaid, including putting in work requirements. [Washington Post / Amy Goldstein]
  • If individual states put in new work requirements, Medicaid applicants in those states will have to demonstrate that they are working, looking for work, or volunteering in order to get health insurance. [Vox / Dylan Scott]
  • Multiple state legislatures in red states have attempted to put in work requirements for people to get Medicaid, but the Obama administration wouldn’t let them. [Associated Press]
  • Trump’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, Seema Verma, told reporters the change came because multiple states requested it. She said certain Medicaid patients would be exempt from new requirements, including people with disabilities, the elderly, children, and pregnant women. [Reuters / Yasmeen Abutaleb]
  • Some conservatives, including Verma, argue that work requirements encourage people to lift themselves out of poverty. [NYT / Robert Pear]
  • But most of the people on Medicaid who can work are already working but making low wages. For some others, who may have had to leave work for a medical issue, not having Medicaid would make it much harder to get better and return to work. [Vox / Dylan Matthews]

Violent protests rock Tunisia

  • The Tunisian army is arresting hundreds of people in cities around the country for protests spurred by the country’s worsening economic situation and recent governments measures raising taxes and the price of basic goods. [BBC]
  • The army was called out to one city after protesters burned down a government security building. At least 600 people have been arrested nationwide, and at least one person has died in the clashes. [NPR / James Doubek]
  • The latest protests, which have been raging for four days, erupted after the Tunisian government proposed its budget at the beginning of the year, calling for a hike in taxes and basic goods to cover a growing deficit hole. [Guardian / Jason Burke and Simon Speakman Cordall]
  • Tunisia is the only country to come out of 2011’s Arab Spring uprising as a democracy, but its government is far from stable, and the country has been struggling with high unemployment. Adding new taxes and fees on top of that went too far for many people, leading to the current protests. [NYT / Lilia Blaise]


  • Cities that host the Winter Olympics are heating up (along with the rest of the world). Some are becoming too warm to host games that need lots of ice and snow. [NYT / Alan Rappeport]
  • After living in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will finally be able to go outside. That’s because Ecuador just granted him citizenship, in an attempt to get him to leave the building. [The Verge / Sarah Jeong]
  • If you think letter writing is a lost art, consider reaching even further into the past and composing your message on some really inedible crackers. [Atlas Obscura / Anne Ewbank]
  • We’re creeping up on a three-day weekend, the perfect time to catch up on some lost sleep (and to find out why we need it in the first place). [Atlantic / Veronique Greenwood]


“I didn’t want to feel my feelings all the time. And now I feel much more accepting and okay with feelings, even if they’re not great.” [High Maintenance co-creator Katja Blichfeld to the Cut / Emily Gould]

Watch this: How the US failed to rebuild Afghanistan

Where the road ends in Afghanistan, the Taliban begin. [YouTube / Sam Ellis]

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