Medicaid workforce engagement plan approved by Senate

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate approved legislation on Thursday that would establish a workforce engagement plan for certain able-bodied adults receiving taxpayer-funded Medicaid, said Sen. Peter MacGregor, who voted in favor of the bill.

Senate Bill 897 would require able-bodied adults between the ages of 19 and 64 who are receiving Medicaid health benefits to work, receive job training, get an education — or a combination of any of the three — for an average of 29 hours per week.

“This is good public policy that empowers able-bodied Medicaid recipients to break the cycle of dependence and realize their full potential through meaningful employment and self-sufficiency,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “There is dignity in work, and the benefits of having a job extend beyond the paycheck — people with jobs, and their families, are healthier and happier because of it.”

The bill would not apply to seniors, pregnant women, a caretaker of a child under age 6, people with disabilities or their caregivers, the medically frail, residents under age 21 who were in foster care, caretakers of incapacitated people, individuals seeking substance use disorder treatment, those receiving unemployment benefits, ex-prisoners released in the last six months, people with medical conditions that impact their ability to work, and full-time students who are emancipated or whose parents qualify for Medicaid. Temporary “good cause” exemptions would also be afforded.

Additionally, should a county’s unemployment rate increases to 8.5 percent, its residents could meet the requirement by looking for a job. The requirement would return once the unemployment rate drops back to 5 percent or less.

“This legislation takes care to protect the safety net and ensures that those who are truly in need are receiving coverage,” MacGregor said. “Enacting this bill will also help to make sure that those resources remain available for as long as possible.”

SB 897 has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.