Governor Snyder last week signed legislation to promote independence among the Medicaid Expansion (“Healthy Michigan”) population by requiring recipients to find work or engage in job training or educational opportunities as a condition of receiving benefits.
Michigan is currently experiencing a workforce shortage and talent gap. Estimates suggest that as many as 100,000 jobs are currently unfilled. Medicaid work requirements, modeled after what has been required under the Unemployment Insurance system since the 1930s, could help employers with their labor shortages. A similar Healthy Michigan requirement could help fill these employment gaps.
Michigan's Healthy Michigan program is over-enrolled and under-funded. When the program was initially expanded, job providers were specifically promised the program would reduce uncompensated care costs that would translate to premium savings for employers, emphasize healthy behaviors for enrollees and a set-aside of state funds to pay for the long-term costs associated with the program. To date, these promises have not been fulfilled. Major reforms - like work requirements - are needed.
The Healthy Michigan program offers some of the most generous health care benefits to enrollees at little cost to enrollees entirely at taxpayer expense. Asking participants to join the labor market is a commonsense way to combat poverty and create opportunities for them to cycle off Medicaid and onto employer-sponsored insurance.
Please contact Wendy Block at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.