May 22, 2018

Michigan drops plan to relax Medicaid work requirements

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder delivering a speech. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

State lawmakers in Michigan have abandoned an effort to exempt some residents from proposed work requirements in the state's Medicaid program, AP reports.

The impact: The aborted exemption was an effort to soften proposed work requirements. If those restrictions ultimately pass, there would be no exemption for anyone who might have a hard time finding a job in their area. The bill will likely include a temporary grace period as an alternative, per the AP.

  • Some Michigan lawmakers want to add work requirements to the state's expanded Medicaid program, but had proposed an exemption for people who live in counties with a particularly high unemployment rate.
  • Although that might seem like a common-sense exemption, in Michigan it would have disproportionately benefitted largely white, rural areas.
  • In cities like Detroit and Flint, with larger black populations, inner-city unemployment is high but suburban employment drives down the total rate for the county. So, poor people in those cities still would have been subject to the work requirements even though jobs are scarce where they live.

What's next: The same issue is playing out in Ohio.

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