Rep. Meerman: Michigan’s Medicaid work requirements should proceed as planned

Categories: Meerman News,News

Rep. Luke Meerman today said Michigan should implement its new state law related to Medicaid workforce engagement requirements as planned in January.

Meerman’s comments come in response to Gov. Whitmer’s request that the Legislature pause implementation of the new requirements pending a legal challenge.

“We are not pausing the program because it’s a good reform taxpayers want and expect,” said Meerman, of Coopersville. “These new requirements will empower able-bodied Medicaid welfare recipients to build better lives for themselves and their families. Having a job is the best way to become self-sufficient and escape poverty – and that’s exactly what these reforms encourage.”

The Legislature approved the Medicaid eligibility reforms in 2018, and the changes are scheduled to begin taking effect next month.

Able-bodied Medicaid recipients must work or prepare for a job for 80 hours a month – an average of about 20 hours a week — to continue receiving the taxpayer-funded health care coverage. Job searches and training programs, internships, community service and attending school including GED certification also count toward meeting the work requirements. So does participation in a substance abuse treatment program.

The program includes several common-sense exemptions to the workforce engagement requirements. It applies only to able-bodied adults just above the federal poverty level — many of whom only became eligible for coverage under the state’s recent expansion of the Medicaid program. The work requirement also does not affect children, seniors or the disabled.

There are additional exemptions for able-bodied adults – including pregnancy, parents with young children, caretakers of the disabled, full-time students and those on unemployment. Simply put, the work requirements will not apply to most Michigan residents now on Medicaid.

“Medicaid for able-bodied adults is supposed to be temporary, and that’s what Michigan’s law reflects,” Meerman said. “These reforms are good for our state — including taxpayers who fund the program, and the residents who truly need Medicaid today and in the future.”