Budget Update: Medicaid continues to be under attack in the House
The House was back in session this week, and many representatives were eager to work on budget plans. House Budget Chairman Diane Black said that she plans to push for more changes to Medicaid, e.g. beyond the $880 billion in cuts to the program in the House-passed American Health Care Act H.R. 1628, in her upcoming budget resolution. Rep. Black, in an opinion piece in RealClearPolitics, said she favors adding work requirements for able-bodied adults with no dependents who are on Medicaid.
Helping individuals find a way to employment and economic mobility is a noble cause. However, adding work requirements to a program providing health coverage is much different than adding work requirements to programs designed to provide economic mobility. Data indicates that most Medicaid beneficiaries who can work already do so. Three quarters of non-elderly adults and children enrolled in Medicaid live in a family with at least one worker. Therefore, work requirements are not likely to reduce the number of recipients enrolled in Medicaid.
Additionally, adding work requirements to social assistance programs without adding appropriate supports for families has shown to contribute to safety threats for young children. Several 2008 child deaths in Wichita, Kansas occurred when children were left by their mothers with relatives or acquaintances in order to go to work or tend to a medical issue without any qualified child care available.