Chamber President and CEO Rich Studley testified before the Senate Competitiveness Committee last week in favor of legislation to require able-bodied adults to work, enroll in job training or pursue additional education to maintain their Medicaid coverage. The Chamber’s testimony centered around the Healthy Michigan (Medicaid Expansion) program and Michigan’s talent gap.
The Chamber’s testimony focused on the fact that the Healthy Michigan program is over-enrolled and under-funded and doesn’t include many of the common-sense reforms that were promised by lawmakers and the Administration, including a reduction in compensated care costs that would translate to premium savings for employers, an emphasis on healthy behaviors for enrollees and a set-aside of state funds to pay for the long-term costs associated with the program. Studley warned the employer support could collapse without reforms. Today, the Medicaid program offers some of the most generous health care benefits to enrollees at zero cost to enrollees entirely at taxpayer expense.
Michigan is currently experiencing a workforce shortage and talent gap. Estimates suggest that as many as 100,000 jobs are currently unfilled. The Chamber believes Medicaid work requirements, modeled after what has been required under the Unemployment Insurance system since the 1930s, could help employers with their labor shortages.
The Senate Competitiveness Committee did not take a vote on the legislation but is expected to do so when they return from their spring recess the week of April 9.