What’s wrong with requiring able-bodied people to work twenty hours a week for their health insurance? It sounds reasonable until you find out that most Medicaid recipients already work, but many struggle to find steady work or have medical issues that interfere with holding regular jobs. When you hear the stories of some of the people whose Medicaid coverage was threatened when such requirements were implemented in Arkansas and Kentucky, you may understand why H.B. 3136, the Medicaid Work Requirement, would be so harmful in WV.
Take Anna Book from Little Rock, who had been homeless for two years, but managed to get and hold a part time job washing dishes, allowing her to rent a room. She has a lung condition that needs treatment, sometimes even hospitalization, and losing Medicaid coverage because she can’t always get 20 hrs. threatens her ability to work and pay rent.
Or 20 yr. old Quenton Radford in rural KY, who lives with and takes care of his grandmother with MS. They have no car and he has been unable to find a job, though he does odd jobs in the community and for his church—not enough for a 20 hr/wk work requirement. His grandmother could end up in a nursing home paid for by the state if he moves to find work so he can have health insurance.
If thousands of WVians like these lose their Medicaid coverage, it might save the state some money in the short term, but we’ll end up paying more when they show up at the emergency room or when young men like Quenton Radford are no longer able to help out their families.
60% of non-elderly Medicaid recipients already work. 12% are engaged in caregiving of family members, and 7% aren’t working for other reasons: difficulty finding work, lack of a vehicle, etc. But many of the 60% currently working stand to lose Medicaid because of difficulty getting paperwork completed, missing appointments, or other bureaucratic problems.
Do you or someone you know depend on Medicaid to help them through hard times or because they can’t find or hold a job for good reason? Tell us their story (feel free to send us a private message on our Facebook Page), and tell your legislator to keep them in mind when they vote on this issue!