Statement on Federal Medicaid Work Requirements Ruling

In response to the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia’s rejection of Kentucky and Arkansas Medicaid work requirements by Judge James Boasberg, Evelyn Eccles, MD, president of the Washtenaw County Medical Society (WCMS) had the following statement:

“On behalf of the WCMS Executive Council and the vulnerable populations our physicians treat in Washtenaw County and across the state, I applaud the ruling and look forward to a similar decision for Michigan.”

In June 2018, WCMS expressed opposition to MI Senate Bill 897, the “Social Welfare Act” prior to its signage into law by Governor Rick Snyder. WCMS detailed concerns about the bill’s negative effects on employment, the budget, and access to health care. Data show 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 are not 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).[1]. In Michigan, most Medicaid beneficiaries are already working, or have one or more exceptions to the proposed work requirements. 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 the program has been proven to outweigh the false “savings” projections created by disqualifying Medicaid recipients.

Dr. Eccles stated, “As physicians charged with providing life-saving care for all patients, particularly our most vulnerable, we are aptly aware that Medicaid work requirements legislation significantly increases barriers for those struggling to receive the most essential health care services. Physicians know that by enacting legislation like this, patients will delay or forgo treatment, inevitably shifting health costs to hospitals and emergency departments, where health care can be less efficient or more expensive.”

WCMS is the leading physician medical association for legislative action and community outreach in Washtenaw County since 1827. As a medical society comprised of more than 1,000 physicians representing various specialties, WCMS works in conjunction with its state partner, the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS).

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