WCMS sent the following letter following discussion with local legislators at the May 2018 Legislative Meeting and approval from the WCMS Executive Council.
Governor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, MI 48909
Dear Governor Snyder:
On behalf of the Washtenaw County Medical Society (WCMS), we write to express our opposition to Senate Bill 897, the “Social Welfare Act.” As physicians charged with providing life-saving care for all patients, particularly our most vulnerable, we are aptly aware that this legislation will create significant barriers for those struggling to receive the most essential health care services.
WCMS is the leading physician medical association for legislative action and community outreach in Washtenaw County. As a medical society comprised of more than 1,000 physicians representing various specialties, we pride ourselves on caring for patients across a wide-range of socioeconomic backgrounds and health needs. While we laud the bill’s alleged intent to “prepare able-bodied adults for a life of self-sufficiency,” the bill’s language in its current form stands in stark opposition to this goal.
We are concerned that misperceptions in this bill and its heavy-handedness will not increase employment, reduce costs, or improve access to health care. Data shows that work requirements make it harder for Medicaid beneficiaries to both get and stay covered. Of roughly 25 million people nationally who could be subject to work requirements, 60% are already working and 79% have at least one worker in the family. Excluding those who aren’t working, more than 80% are in school or report an illness, disability, or caregiving responsibilities that keep them from working (Katch, Wagner, and Aron-Dine). In Michigan, most Medicaid beneficiaries are already working, or have one or more exceptions to the proposed work requirement. Additionally, those with serious mental illness or physical impairments may face additional challenges in meeting new documentation and paperwork requirements. Further, the financial burden that the State is tasked with in administering work requirements will outweigh any potential savings created by disqualifying Medicaid recipients. As physicians, we know that Medicaid coverage is critical in reducing uncompensated care and alleviating unnecessary financial stressors for patients.
We strongly urge Michigan’s elected officials to reject this bill in its current form. We remain committed to helping families and serving our communities in the best ways possible. WCMS welcomes the opportunity to work together to develop reasonable solutions in pursuit of our mutual goal of optimizing access to health care and community safety.
Joseph O. Nnodim, MD, PhD, FACP, AGSF Gabrielle Szlenkier
WCMS President Executive Director