Tell lawmakers to oppose costly, harmful Medicaid work requirements

The Michigan legislature is considering a bill that would revoke health care coverage from Medicaid recipients who cannot meet ill-conceived and burdensome work requirements. This proposal will create new barriers between struggling people and the health services they need. Tell your representative to oppose this bill!

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Click here to read our message to lawmakers with 17 other organizations, published in the May 13 Detroit News and Free Press.

The Michigan legislature is considering a bill that requires Medicaid recipients to prove they are working or receiving job training to keep their health care. This fundamentally flawed proposal will create new barriers between struggling people and the essential health services they need. Please tell your representative to oppose this bill.

The Michigan House of Representatives could vote soon on a bill passed by the state senate that would require Medicaid recipients to work or receive at least 20 hours of job training per week to keep their health care. This cynical proposal is based on gross misperceptions and prejudices about what it means to live in poverty. Rather than helping people find work, this bill is likely to do significant harm to struggling families across Michigan.

Most families that receive Medicaid include children, seniors and people with disabilities. While the bill seeks to exempt vulnerable populations from the new requirement, most will still have to jump through new administrative hoops to avoid a lapse in coverage. Those who fail to properly report or do not meet work requirements would be disqualified from the Medicaid program for a significant penalty period—even if they are eligible for an exemption.

This proposal also fails to recognize that more than 50 percent of enrollees in the Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion are employed, according to University of Michigan researchers. Of the rest:

  • – 5 percent were students.
  • – 5 percent were homemakers.
  • – 11 percent said they were unable to work.
  • – 2.5 percent were retired.
  • – Just 27.6 percent were considered to be out of work, and three-quarters of those say they’re living with a chronic physical condition like diabetes or cancer, or a mental health condition.

This heavy-handed, misguided bill will not increase employment, improve access to health care or reduce costs. It won’t improve the affordability or quality of care for anyone in Michigan. It will create new barriers between struggling people and the essential health services they need. Lawmakers should help Michigan job seekers access opportunity, not create even more challenges for them to overcome.

While we support efforts to help those with the ability to seek and find gainful employment, Medicaid is not a work program and should not be used as one. Reports from nonpartisan organizations, including a large number of respected health organizations, indicate that this proposal is likely to hurt families by eliminating access to health care while costing the state more than it would ever save by increasing bureaucratic red tape and administrative expenses.

Please contact your state representative and tell them to vote no on SB 897.