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Mich. House begins hearings on Medicaid work requirement

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The state House opened hearings today on a bill that would require many able-bodied adults on Medicaid to find work, or be in school. If the bill is adopted, Michigan would have one of the toughest Medicaid work requirements in the nation.

“Michigan has a talent shortage. Everybody’s talking about it. Estimates suggest that currently there are 100 thousand jobs that are currently unfilled. If 47,000 Medicaid enrollees were to secure work due to this requirement, this could solve nearly 50% of that problem," said Wendy Block of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which supports the bill. 

But critics say the legislation could force many people more than that off their health insurance. They say the legislation does not address barriers to employment.

“In order to really help people go to work, we have to eliminate the barriers," said Gilda Jacobs of the Michigan League for Public Policy, which advocates for human services programs. "And we’re talking about child care. We’re talking about public transportation. These are things that in many rural areas, in particular, are just not available.

Most people on Medicaid are already working.
           
Michigan would have to get a federal waiver if the law is adopted. But three other states have already been granted permission.

Governor Rick Snyder is opposed to the legislation. He says more people with medical coverage is a cost-savings for the health care system and taxpayers.  

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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