Medicaid Work Requirements Will Perpetuate Poverty and Harm Women
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that states will be able to apply for waivers allowing them to implement work requirements for Medicaid recipients. This misguided policy punishes the most vulnerable members of our society and has the potential to cause millions of people to lose their health coverage just when they need support the most. It will perpetuate poverty and inequality, jeopardize the health of families, disproportionately harm women, undermine our economy, and do little to help anyone find or keep a job.
Studies have shown that work requirements are untenable. They push people to accept low-paying, short-term jobs that provide no long-term stability, and they punish seasonal and hourly workers who may lose health coverage if their hours change suddenly. Most Medicaid recipients already work—nearly 8 in 10 non-disabled adults with Medicaid coverage live in working families. Those who don’t have a traditional job are primary caregivers to family members suffering from illness or disability or have their own chronic health conditions. Some suffer from substance abuse disorders, and need appropriate care to rejoin the workforce. If work requirements are implemented, many of these people would lose access to affordable health coverage, preventing them from securing a job and getting back on their feet. As is too often the case, low-income women, families and those who live in rural and medically underserved communities will suffer the most, with a compounding impact in Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American, and LGBTQ+ communities.
Ultimately, the only outcome of implementing work requirements will be that tens of thousands of low-income people will lose access to health care, making it that much harder for them to find jobs. Not to mention that this is just the first of many anticipated cuts to Medicaid and other essential programs that Republicans in Congress and the White House will put forward to pay for their outrageous tax law, proving once again that they value the bottom line of large corporations more than the health of vulnerable people.
This action does not reflect our country’s values, and we will not stand for it. The moms of America will oppose this policy and any others that aim to punish those most in need of help.