Medicaid Work Rules Won’t Work

In Economy, Healthcare On

In an attempt to win over those lawmakers, the Republican leadership has offered ideas to restrict coverage even further. One of the worst is a Medicaid work requirement.

That may sound sensible to conservatives who, contrary to evidence, believe that Medicaid receipt discourages work. But it’s a mistake. Not only would this proposal make an already punishing bill even harsher, but it also constitutes an unnecessary add-on that has nothing to do with the purpose of Medicaid.

Most poor people who can work do: A recent study of adults affected by Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, for example, found that 87 percent of able-bodied beneficiaries were working, looking for work or in school.

Of the remaining 13 percent, it found, “three-quarters report they are not working in order to care for family members and the rest report other reasons, like being laid off.” Most other able-bodied people already receiving Medicaid before the expansion are also working, raising the question of what problem, exactly, the proposed requirement is meant to solve.

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