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Studies suggest Michigan's proposed Medicaid work requirement would boot people who qualify

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Two new studies suggest Medicaid work requirement proposalswill end up kicking off qualified people from the health care program.

Gov. Snyder signed the bill in June, which would require able-bodied adults to prove they are employed in order to qualify for the Healthy Michigan program. There would be exemptions for those unable to work 20 hours a week.   

Michigan is among the states seeking a federal exemption for the Medicaid work requirement. 

There are more than 600,000 Michiganders receiving health care coverage under the state’s expanded Medicaid program. Supporters of the work requirement have said it is necessary to keep the program financially viable. 

This week, the Journal of the American Medical Association is publishing two studies on the effect of work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

Dr. Anna Goldman is a health policy researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her studysuggests the work requirement will bump few people off Medicaid.

“Unless the people who are not supposed to lose Medicaid do lose Medicaid because of all the new paperwork burden,” says Goldman.

The second study finds much the same problem.

Dr. David Silvestri studied the potential effects of work requirements on states like Michigan.

His studyestimates between two to seven percent of Michigan Medicaid recipients don’t meet the work requirement.  But the same study estimated between 15 to 20% might not be able to provide the required proof of employment. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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