Bill would require Michigan Medicaid recipients to work 29 hours per week

Posted at 12:27 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 12:27:01-04

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Able-bodied adults would have to complete 29 hours per week of work or job training to qualify for Medicaid under a bill that cleared a Michigan legislative committee Wednesday, months after the Trump administration announced it would permit such requirements.

The Republican-led Michigan Competitiveness Committee moved the measure to the full state Senate on a 4-1 party-line vote.

“It’s not about saving money for the state. It’s about securing funds for those who really need it,” said the sponsor, Sen. Mike Shirkey, a Clark Lake Republican who estimated his legislation might affect 300,000 of the state’s 2.3 million Medicaid recipients. Enrollment and spending on the federal-state health insurance program for low-income residents have soared under an expansion authorized by the Obama-era health law.

There would be an exemption from the work requirement for caretakers, pregnant women, full-time students, those with disabilities and others. The measure was supported by business and conservative groups and opposed by health providers, organized labor and others.

“I fundamentally believe that the right to health care should be protected for all our citizens. That right should not be predicated on the number of hours they work,” said Democratic Sen. Rebekah Warren, of Ann Arbor.

Tanya Baker, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Rick Snyder — a strong advocate of an expansion program that has provided Medicaid to more than 600,000 additional adults — said his office was continuing to work with Shirkey “in a positive and collaborative way. The latest draft is still under review, but things are certainly moving forward and we’re grateful for the senator’s willingness to work with us.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation says three states — Arkansas, Indiana and Kentucky— have Medicaid work requirements, while seven others have requests pending before the federal government.