Michigan Republicans’ “Progress Report”
Last month, Michigan House Republicans released a progress report full of mischaracterizations. So what have Republicans really accomplished in Michigan over the past year?
Two of their key efforts are centered on work requirements, which place conditions on receiving benefits like SNAP — commonly known as food stamps — and Medicaid. But these conditions are simply an unnecessary, punitive burden placed on low-income people.
Under a law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder over the summer, adult Medicaid recipients in Michigan will need to work 80 hours per month or else they could lose their health coverage. In total, more than 670,000 people have obtained health coverage through Healthy Michigan, Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program.
A coalition of health care and patient groups, including the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the Cancer Action Network, called on Snyder to veto the bill. The coalition said that these work requirements would “jeopardize health care coverage for 670,000 Michiganders, including those who live with serious and chronic health conditions.”
Nevertheless, Gov. Snyder ignored the facts, signed the Republican bill and implemented work requirements for Medicaid.
Why are these work requirements misguided?
For one, most non-elderly adult Medicaid enrollees work, but many are employed in low-wage jobs with unpredictable hours. People with unpredictable work schedules or unstable employment could meet the 80-hour-per-month work requirement for 11 months, but if they fall below that threshold for just one month, their health coverage would be at risk.
A recent study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that if Medicaid work requirements were put in place nationwide, 46 percent of low-income workers could be at risk of losing coverage.
What’s more, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy, “There is little evidence that work requirements increase employment outcomes or reduce poverty.”
Rather than helping Healthy Michigan enrollees work, these work requirements jeopardize health coverage for low-income workers who rely on the program to care for themselves and their families.