Rep. Glenn’s bill sets work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients

Measure is companion bill to freezing new enrollments

State Rep. Gary Glenn today said able-bodied Medicaid recipients should be required to work, participate in work training or perform community service as a condition to continue receiving benefits.

Glenn, of Williams Township, said welfare recipients have work requirements, and the same standards should apply to people who are enrolled in the Medicaid program.

The bill is a companion piece to an earlier bill freezing enrollment in Michigan’s Medicaid expansion plan. Glenn referred to the 2013 expansion as “Michigan’s ObamaCare” and said ending new enrollment will limit damage to the state budget, which is required to pick up 5 percent of expansion costs in the coming fiscal year.

Late last week, the Trump White House said that it would allow states to impose work requirements in Medicaid, a major policy shift that moves toward fulfilling a conservative vision for one of the nation’s largest social insurance programs for low-income people.

Federal officials said they would support state efforts to require able-bodied adults to work or participate in other “community engagement activities” as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid.

Glenn said Medicaid must be brought under control.

“This explosion in Medicaid entitles working, able-bodied adults to receive this entitlement. This common-sense reform will relieve a budgetary burden that has able-bodied people taking benefits away from those who are unable to help themselves – children, senior citizens, the blind, and people with physical and mental challenges,” Glenn said. “Expanded Medicaid is a luxury that we cannot pay for as it is. It is a ticking time bomb that will fracture our state budget.”

Under the new legislation, individuals exempt from the work or work training requirements are:

• A child under the age of 16;
• A child age 16 to 18 who is attending elementary or secondary school full time;
• Someone who has medical documentation of being disabled or documentation of an inability to participate in employment or job training for more than 90 days because of a mental or physical condition;
• A recipient unable to participate as determined by a medical review team;
• A recipient age 65 or older;
• A person receiving supplemental security income;
• A recipient of retirement, survivor, or disability insurance based on a disability or blindness, or a recipient found eligible for such insurance who is in a non-pay status.

The Department of Health and Human Services may grant a temporary exemption from the work requirement to any of the following:

• An individual suffering from a documented short-term mental or physical illness, limitation or disability that severely restricts the ability to participate in work or work training. If a recipient’s status severely restricts the ability to work, they shall be required to participate in the work or work training program at a medically permissible level. The exemption is limited to 90 days without a review.
• Someone for whom certain program requirements have been waived under this bill, with the exemption not exceeding 90 days;
• A parent with a child under the age of 60 days if the child is living in the home, or a mother for postpartum recovery up to 60 days if the child is not living in the home;
• A pregnant recipient who, based on medical documentation, is severely restricted in her ability to participate for the duration of the pregnancy;
• The spouse of a recipient who is verified as disabled living in the home with the spouse if it is determined the spouse is needed at home full time due to the extent of medical care required. This exemption must be reviewed annually;
• A parent of a child who is verified as disabled and living at home if it is determined the parent is needed in the home due to the extent of medical care required. The one-year review applies to this exemption; and
• An individual is not considered disabled for purposes of this legislation if substance abuse is a contributing factor to the determination of disability.

Earlier this month, Kentucky became the first state in the nation to require Medicaid recipients to work or get jobs training after federal approval for the change. Kentucky’s waiver requires able-bodied adult recipients to participate at least 80 hours each month in jobs training, education or community service.

Glenn said Michigan should follow suit.

“It is our sworn duty as legislators to be responsible to the taxpayers of Michigan, and I believe it is fiscally irresponsible to allow able-bodied adults to draw on resources that should be reserved for disabled adults or children who cannot help themselves,” Glenn said.

The bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

The work requirement measure is House Bill 5317. The Medicaid enrollment freeze is HB 4598.