A Medicaid Reform Bill Worth Consideration

March 28, 2019

Yesterday in the NC Senate legislation was filed to add a work requirement for Medicaid recipients, a necessary step in any worthwhile policy changes to Medicaid.

Senate Bill 387 would require a minimum of 20 hours of “community engagement” a week for able-bodied Medicaid recipients, which includes both working or taking classes.

While Medicaid Expansionists clamor to add more able-bodied working age adults to the Medicaid roles, the measure of adding a work requirement will more greatly benefit eligible Medicaid recipients by increasing their lifetime earning potential.

The Buckeye Institute found that when adding work requirements for able-bodied adults, potential lifetime earning increases to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars for individuals.

The reasons for these differences are not far to seek. People who receive income-related benefits have powerful disincentives to work. A job provides income. Too much income results in loss of benefits. These perverse incentives discourage people from pursuing the surest way to escape poverty: a job. Work requirements help break this dynamic, discouraging long-term dependency.

Doug Bader, Galen Institute