Legislature passes Medicaid work requirement
Before recessing for summer break, the legislature passed NFIB supported Senate Bill 897 that will implement a work requirement for recipients of Medicaid health coverage. The version passed by the Senate and House requires able-bodied adults between the age of 19 and 64 years to work an average of 80 hours per month (20-hours per week) to remain eligible for benefits. The original requirement was 29-hours per week, however, Governor Snyder indicated that he would veto the bill if changes were not made to the requirements. The Governor is expected to sign the revised legislation. A waiver will also need to be granted by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services before the law could be implemented, however, the federal department has already signaled that they would grant the waiver request. Ninety percent of NFIB members responding to a survey on the issue support a work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients to continue eligibility for benefits.
NFIB’s latest Jobs Report shows labor challenges remain a top issue facing small business owners, with 89-percent of those hiring or trying to hire reporting few or no qualified applicants and 19-percent reporting plans to raise compensation in response to the tight labor market. A robust economy and record job openings provide an unprecedented opportunity to encourage the able-bodied Medicaid population to join the workforce and become an active participant in moving themselves and Michigan forward.
Legislation that Michigan passed in 2013 to expand Medicaid eligibility was intended to extend health care coverage to the working poor. Since Medicaid expansion was designed for the working poor, it is not inconsistent or unusual to expect that a work requirement should be a part of the criteria for eligibility.
Senate Bill 897 is common sense legislation that will help address the ongoing costs of Medicaid expansion while bringing more people into the workforce at a time when more jobs are being created, and wages are rising.