Michigan is the fourth state to sponsor legislation that would require Medicaid recipients to work 29 hours a week to maintain their eligibility for Medicaid.
The Michigan House Appropriations Committee spent two hours reviewing Senate Bill 897, sponsored by State Senator Mike Shirkey, (Clarklake-R), but did not take a vote to advance the legislation. As reported in The Macomb Daily’s recent article, “Michigan lawmakers move toward work requirements for Medicaid recipients,” recipients would lose coverage for a year, if they fail to document their work activity, a provision that opponents say is the most stringent devised by any of the four states to date.
Healthy Michigan currently insures 695,820 people, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It covers people earning up to 138% of the poverty level.
Opponents say the state’s attempts to impose work requirements will cost the state up to $30 million to administer. The bill would exempt the disabled and the elderly from work requirements. However, opponents estimate that it could potentially impact health coverage for between 150,000 to 1 million people and increase uncompensated emergency room care.
According to a survey of Healthy Michigan enrollees by the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan, 48.8% are working. Of that segment, 5.2% were students, 4.5% were homemakers, and 2.5% were retired.
Most Medicaid recipients who can work, are already working, opponents argue. A big issue is that those who are working are not allowed to work more than 25 hours because employers try to stay below 29 hours. That’s nearly 30 hours, which might require an employer to pay full benefits.
One estimate projects that 46% of Michigan Medicaid enrollees would be at risk of losing Medicaid coverage for at least one month during the year.
Many advocacy groups oppose the legislation, including the Elder Law & Disability Rights Section of the State Bar of Michigan and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Reference: The Macomb (MI) Daily (May 7, 2018) “Michigan lawmakers move toward work requirements for Medicaid recipients”