Rep. Laura Cox and the Michigan House today voted to require able-bodied adults to work, prepare for a job or engage in community service for an average of at least 80 hours a month to keep Medicaid welfare coverage.
“This plan is designed to help able-bodied adults help themselves and brighten the future for their families,” said Cox, chair of the House Appropriations Committee which made several improvements to the plan before its approval by the full chamber. “The best path to self-sufficiency is a job, and particularly in this time of low unemployment, this measure will help more Michigan residents get on that path.”
Cox said the plan also respects taxpayers who spend billions of dollars a year funding the Medicaid program.
“We already have similar requirements for food and cash assistance programs,” said Cox, of Livonia. “Taxpayers pay the bills for these welfare programs, and they deserve to know able-bodied recipients are engaging in the workforce or serving their communities in a meaningful way in exchange for benefits.”
The House-approved plan generally would apply to able-bodied adults who only became eligible for coverage under the state’s Obamacare-related expansion of the program, called the Healthy Michigan Plan. Some already have jobs and would not need to make changes to continue receiving benefits.
The workforce engagement requirements do not apply to children, seniors 62 or older, or the disabled. There also are multiple exemptions for able-bodied adults including pregnancy, parents with children under 6, caretakers of a disabled dependent, full-time students and those on unemployment. There also is discretion to grant temporary exemptions for other good causes.
The measure also requires able-bodied adults who have been in the Healthy Michigan Plan for more than four years to take steps to improve their own health and contribute financially to their coverage.
Four other states already have added Medicaid work engagement rules and many others are planning to do so.
Senate Bill 897 returns to the Senate for further consideration.