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Michigan Medicaid Work Requirement Bill Moves To Snyder's Desk

Does the bill discriminate?

June 07, 2018 - 1:23 pm

LANSING (WWJ) - The Medicaid work requirement bill passed the Michigan Senate in a 26 to 11 vote in April. 

The bill, if signed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder, may force some Medicaid recipients in Michigan to choose between finding a job and losing their health insurance.

When Democrats tried to amend the legislation, every attempt was shot down.

Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor, voted against the passage of the bill, saying she believes healthcare is a human right.

"A right of all our citizens, not the privilege of those who can afford it - or those who can meet a certain set of requirements, the right of all of our citizens," said Warren.

The bill has come under scrutiny for targeting the poor and struggling families with layers of bureaucracy. 

There is some question as to whether the bill discriminates among race. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits recipients of federal funds - including state Medicaid programs -- from employing "methods of administration that appear neutral but have a discriminatory effect on individuals because of their race," notes the New York Times. 

"Every Michigander deserves access to basic health care," said Democrat Steve Bieda of Warren. "I can not support policy that tells taxpayers they need to pay $30 million to deny their neighbors, friends and family access the most basic healthcare."

The legislation now heads to the governor's desk -- it calls for more than 500,000 able-bodied adults with Medicaid health insurance be required to work at least 80 hours per month or risk losing coverage. 

Exemptions include pregnant woman, people receiving unemployment or disability benefits, caretakers for children under age six and full-time students.

In January, the Trump administration gave states the green light to hold Medicaid recipients to a work requirement.