On June 22nd, Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 897, which imposes work requirements on Healthy Michigan recipients. The bill requires many who receive healthcare through Healthy Michigan to work at least 80 hours a month or risk losing their coverage. Medicaid is a health plan not a jobs plan. The new state requirements will burden struggling families with more paperwork and bureaucracy; not help them improve their circumstances. As Michigan's next member of Congress, I will oppose Medicaid work requirements!
Complicated and unnecessary work requirements WILL result in people losing health care coverage. The Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation reports that the new requirements will jeopardize healthcare coverage for nearly 700,000 individuals. The House Fiscal Agency projects about 5-10% of recipients will drop out or leave the program as a result of the new requirements. For example, individuals in seasonal or part-time work have hours that fluctuate wildly throughout the year. Many Healthy Michigan recipients also do not have access to a computer or email, which makes it difficult to verify individual employment. Furthermore, individuals required to report under the new law may not even understand the requirements being asked to report.
The legislation is a solution looking for a problem. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 6 in every 10 Medicaid enrollees are already working. The new legislation leaves approximately 6% of the Medicaid population that could be targeted by the new work requirements.
The legislation is NOT about saving money. The Bill's Senate sponsors admit that the new legislation is not about saving money. In fact, the new Bill will cost approximately $30 million annually.
Healthcare for all!
Everyone deserves access to quality healthcare.
The legislation was forced through the Legislature and was passed on party-lines. All of the Senate Democrats and Republican Senators O’Brien and Rocca voted against the Bill. The American Heart Association and American Cancer Society Cancer joined in opposition. In the House, Republicans suddenly ceased ll debate and approved the legislation in a 62-47 vote. All House Democrats, along with Republican Rep. Martin Howrylak, voted against the Bill.
If Michigan’s waiver application is approved by the Trump administration, it would become the fifth state to add Medicaid work requirements. Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana and New Hampshire have already been granted waivers, and nine other states including Michigan, have pending applications.
The new work requirements may be illegal. U.S. District Court Judge, James Boasberg, recently threw out Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements in a decision that could affect Michigan’s new law. In Stewart v. Azar, Judge Boasberg stated that U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar "never adequately considered whether Kentucky HEALTH would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid." HHS is consulting with the Justice Department to decide whether to appeal the recent ruling.