CONGRESSMAN: Recipients Should Work to Get Medicaid Benefits

(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) Work worked for welfare, so why not make work work for Medicaid as well?

IMAGE: YouTube

That idea – requiring federal aid recipients to do some sort of work in return – is animating a new bill by U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, a fourth-term Republican from Virginia. It is expected to prove highly controversial, even though a similar idea was a successful linchpin for the landmark welfare reform legislation of 1996 – which cut welfare rolls by more than half while (arguably) helping push the poverty rate down.

Griffith’s Medicaid Individual Responsibility Bill, introduced on Thursday, would allow (but not compel) states to implement work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients. (The disabled, pregnant, and elderly, among others, would be exempt.) The states would have leeway to design the exact nature of those work requirements.

“Medicaid is a safety net for those who need help, but it was never intended to be a long term benefit for abled bodied adults who choose not to work,” said Griffith in a press release. “For those that can’t find jobs, training programs, education, and job search assistance can be provided to help them meet the work requirement. This will allow recipients to move into a situation where they can better support themselves and their family so they no longer need the safety net of Medicaid.”

Most conservatives say a requirement for work, training or education was the single most important component of the welfare reform called The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. It is indisputable that welfare rolls dropped fairly quickly by about 50 percent, and eventually by 75 percent, after that reform. It is also indisputable that poverty rates, including child poverty, declined after passage of that law – although conservatives and liberals still argue bitterly about whether the law helped or somehow actually hampered that beneficial decline in the poverty rate.

Critics from the political Left long have disputed the 1996 law’s success, with one student even producing a 2015 Duke University Law Journal report called “Punishing the Poor Through Welfare Reform.” And senior economics writer Jordan Weissman for the liberal Slate online journal said the reform made welfare “a zombie system rather than the bridge from poverty to work that its reformers envisioned.”

Countering this, even Ron Haskins of the left-center Brookings Institution concluded that the 1996 reform “played a major role in increasing the work rate among mothers and substantially reducing the poverty among mothers and children in single-parent families.”

Several states in recent years have petitioned the federal government for the flexibility to apply similar work requirements for Medicaid, arguing that the correct interpretation of current law would allow it – but the Obama administration refused their pleas.

Such was the background for Rep. Griffith’s new bill.

The bill defines “work,” for its purposes, as any of 12 different activities, including actual employment, on-the-job-training, vocational educational training, and community service programs.

“Giving this ability to the states prevents the federal government from pushing a one size fits all solution and instead gives states flexibility to best utilize their funding and help those in need,” Griffith explained.

Griffith’s bill comes even as broader Medicaid reform takes one of the leading roles in the now-hot debate over repealing and replacing the Obamacare health-policy system.

The House leadership’s Obamacare-replacement bill introduced earlier this week envisions ending the federal “entitlement” to Medicaid and replacing it with “block grant” funding to each state that would let the states themselves, within certain limits, design their own Medicaid systems for health care for lower-income Americans. (Again, this approach mirrors the 1996 welfare reform.) But the new block grants, and the policy flexibility that goes along with it, would not take effect for another three years. By contrast, Griffith’s bill would allow at least the work-requirement flexibility to be implemented as soon as the bill becomes law.

In that way, it might let states experiment with work requirements even before full flexibility goes their way as a result of Obamacare’s replacement.

Meanwhile, separately, the effort to continue reforming programs with welfare-like characteristics continues. As Rep. Griffith introduced his Medicaid-work bill on Thursday, Republican Warren Davidson of Ohio introduced a bill aimed at leading to various consolidations of some 90 different federal aid programs currently costing nearly $1 trillion each year.

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  • Karen

    This ought to be interesting. Each state could have specific requirements. I can’t see a down side, but then I’m not always on the look out for a reason not to work.

    • survivor33

      Me too Karen, I am 83 yrs old and I still have a job and work. I like to feel like I’m productive and not a leech.

  • JMH

    What in the world has happened to the concept of work? Young and old alike work for self to create purpose, care for family and self and if abled to share their fortunes to the aged and parent less children that lost a parent in a bad situation.

    Today it seems it’s looked down on because why work when money is given out like tic tacks? This scenario cripples the foundation of a productive society. It is the cornerstone of liberty and freedom which appears to be slipping away because of votes for those that give much away just for a vote for their power and lazy way to be a politician that destroys the will of those who lay down as a do nothing taker.

    • Rocketman

      simple answer LIbtards

    • badass

      there are rich Chinese women came to this country to have their kids but using the white card (medicaid card) for FREE. but we have to pay for them.

  • Peggie

    Sounds like a terrific idea to me! I worked in Public Health for 12 yrs, and I have actually heard one welfare recipient say, she needed more money, “Guess I’ll
    have to have another baby”!!! That really made me angry. I was working to raise my four children by myself. Never wanted or had any public assistance. Difference in people is amazing at times!!

    • Jim

      Child support for the first baby which could be a childhood mistake Immediate sterialization or abortion the next time they get pregnant. These are criminals masquerading as parents who don’t give a damn about their children or society at large.

    • amongoose

      I remember when it was done that way.
      And food stamps were paper, not an EBT card.

      • Peggie

        Yes, the govt. didn’t want people on welfare to feel stigmatized
        because they were on welfare, so they gave them credit cards, so no one else would know! Isn’t that just lovely?

    • sherri palmer

      Sounds like another great idea!

  • What if the applicant is unable to work?

    • therealworld

      Re-Read the article. Or ACTUALLY READ IT…..

      • therealworld,
        OOPS! I missed the words, able bodied. Me bad. 40 lashes with a wet noddle!

  • therealworld

    If it requires Work or Effort the Liberals are not for it. If the Poor and Underprivileged better themselves thru work and shaking Poverty they won’t need the Liberals to control them and the Liberals will be unneeded and go away. They Can’t Have That

  • therealworld

    Unemployed, On Drugs, Felons, Child Molesters, Harboring Illegal’s, Illegal Alien’s, I was listing reasons to not give welfare and instead I ended up listing the Liberals Most Endearing Qualities.

  • Rocketman

    Democrat, progressive, libtard’s are the ones to blame for all the lazy a$$ people in this country. When I was young we were taught to work hard, take care of our needs and when we can help our neighbors that need it

  • leviathan

    Just doing the simplest of jobs could make people feel they are contributing but I believe that Obama created a mindset in far too many that something is owed to them.Now BLM is joining the pipe line protests and I feel sure Soros is funding it.All those in that movemnet that are on welfare should be taken off of it.

    • Chalrley Walker

      The Standing Rock Sioux rightfully objected to the draft-dodging Koch Brothers ramming their pipeline through the middle of the reservation, burial grounds and all. Then they ran that pipeline through the lake and the Missouri River.
      When there is a pipeline break, the Sioux will lose their entire water supply and millions of others downstream will have their water supply polluted.

      All so the DRAFT DODGING Koch Brothers can add to their $20-Billion annual NET.

      Meanwhile veterans supporting the Sioux – on Sioux land — were arrested.

      • chuckkel

        Now for some facts:
        1. The pipeline never passes through the Standing Rock Sioux property.
        2. The pipeline generally parallels the public road for ease of future access.
        3. No burial grounds were gone thru. Archeological teams assess for burial grounds for all public jobs.
        4. The pipeline does not pass through the lake/river. A tunnel was dug out 126 ft under the lake for the pipes to pass thru.
        5. The Sioux tribe is upstream so no leak near the river evers comes to the Sioux water supply. Oil pipeline is monitored and shutdown if a leak is detected. Oil is organic so decomposes/break downs over time.

        • Ed

          It doesn’t help the snowflakes to try to educate them. They have smoked/snorted their brains and are incapable of rational thought.

  • ermom

    Remember the communists Cloward and Piven’s Strategy, “Collapsing the System Under the Weight of the Poor”? I do.

  • Jerry Wyatt

    Man O’ man let us listen to the leeches complain now. Welfare should be a temporary lift up. Not a permanent crutch to encumber those that WILL work.

  • Archie Cogollos

    Excellent idea…and incredibly obvious….also concerned with Social Security Disability…best example …for young people in Methadone program…..disheartening….and sad

    • Barbie

      My 49 yr old son is on Social Security Disability. He worked for the Government as a Journeyman on Submarines at a Shipyard. Then when he was in his mid 20’s he became a Paranoid Schizophrenic and couldn’t work even with medication. I noticed it early on as I am a Nurse, but getting him help was a horror story. He can’t differentiate between the voices that he hears and the voices of his superiors and colleagues. It’s so sad because he had such a good job and a good education and he wanted to work but he can’t.

      • Archie Cogollos

        I’m so sorry to hear that…God bless and you…but that’s not the cases I’m addressing…I’m talking to the abuse of if…medicare/medicaid fraud,,the abusers that steal from the system that helps people like your son..the able bodied and mentally fit, functional people that work the system…

  • Daniel Yingling

    If the govt is allowed to force people to work, the abuse of this power under a Obama like regime will force Socialism in a big way. Especially since he did everything he could to destroy the working middle class including hiring 5.45 million foreign nationalists who were given permanent resident status.



    • Ed

      Wrong again buckwheat!

      • JOHN T. FOX


  • Deborah Tucker

    Welfare reform was put to a vote during the Bush years. It passed and those applying for assistance were required to look for a job with proof of doing so. They also had to either find a job or get training in another field of their choice. When Obama was elected he refused federal assistance to states until they stopped requiring these things. I find nothing wrong with requirements for assistance. Looking for a job and/or free training for a job are great ideas. The proverb about giving a man a fish or teaching him to fish is a great example.

    • bbarnicle

      I’m no Clinton fan, but wasn’t he the one who passed work-for-welfare?

      • Deborah Tucker

        Actually it started with Reagan, then both Bushes. The last Bush wanted the states to choose between work and some assistance or job training and assistance while learning a trade. Clinton also continued with trying to lower the cost of assistance. Only Obama destroyed what these past Presidents tried to do.

        • bbarnicle

          I remember when Obama openly told the welfare/social service offices that they were no longer to verify the info. (like employment) on the submitted applications. I thought I was hearing things, but he really made that decree.

          • Deborah Tucker

            He crippled too many people. So many are now we’ll groomed for government in every part of their lives. I’ve read comments from people that think anyone with money should be made to share so everyone would be the same financial bracket. So many feel entitled instead of working for a living.

  • Jim

    As jobs become more available, and they are, Thank You President Trump, Medicaid, well be less of a need, welfare reform will, force able body recipients to get a job, and provide for, the family they created.
    Welfare has become a 3rd. generation career and it must be overhauled from top to bottom!
    A good start would be; 9 months full help, during that time the recipient must go to a paid by employer vocational school, or Apprenticeship, in some craft,
    ( Electrician, Machinist, Plumber, Carpenter, Steel worker, and so on), after 9 Months the welfare reduces by 60%, and 15% of the recipient, income from work will go back to The Welfare Agency to repay all funds received, so the NEXT PERSON, can receive the help needed to get back on their feet! After 1 year Welfare ENDS, as does Medicaid, or Medical, which ever your State calls it.
    Only people that should qualify for assistance
    # 1. is Handicap, with 2 Doctors reports, FRAUD must carry a Mandatory FINE of $250,000. DOLLARS, and 7 YEARS in Prison. The Doctor shall never be allowed to Practice Medicine in the United States ever again.
    # 2. And for Re-training from obsolete job. Absolutely NO ONE with out CITIZENSHIP, will be allowed to request, apply or receive any form of welfare, including Medicaid or Medical. Any NON CITIZEN visiting America, MUST SHOW PROOF OF INCOME MEANS TO SELF SUPPORT AND HEALTH INSURANCE, BEFORE ENTERING AMERICA.

  • Gym

    Soon many more obamavoters will be in the workforce when their welfare for this and freebies for that get cut off by hero President Trump.

  • kap2002

    great idea

  • badass

    this is the greatest good idea…! thanks Sir.

  • needful

    i am a conservative minded person but i don’t get this guys numbers,he said the 1996 bill reduced people on welfare, how is it there’s more people on welfare than ever before.the republicans are evading the issue,get rid of obamacare,period!!!

    • bbarnicle

      Obama got rid of the work requirement.

  • David Carpenter

    Everyday I hear about some state with a terrible budget deficit. Well, Medicaide is a state funded program, so the recipients are state employees in that the state is paying for their health care. So put them to work, what’s the problem?

  • Joseph111

    For crying out loud, at the very least require a drug test before handing out tax payer dollars …

  • Frederick Smith

    How about anyone who goes on any kind of assistance be it state or federal be required to use birth control if they do not they are off of the program. It is not a restriction on their rights it is a condition of their receiving any assistance just like you must be a certain age to get social security.

  • Dazzeetrader1980

    HUGE incentive for those medicaid type to get off their duff and improve their lives. I’m getting tired of paying for them when they just sit on porches and get loaded.

  • Camille Gilliam

    I understand why they are saying this, but what about disabled people that can’t work? I checked into it for my husband after he had a stroke at 51, they wanted his insurance policy. i just left. What caused his stroke was eating an Italian Sub, too much salt, he has over active adrenal glands, so his body kicks out all of the potassium and keeps the salt, blood pressure soars. The leaches don’t deserve the protection they are getting but you do have to figure in a way to handle the difference.

    • bbarnicle

      Reread the article, please.

      • Camille Gilliam

        You’re right I didn’t see that. I think they should have to try to get a job to keep welfare also, and the women should have to take birth control or get their tubes tied, so they don’t just keep getting pregnant.

        • bbarnicle

          And drug testing should be mandatory. If someone has money for drugs, welfare isn’t needed. Otherwise, tax dollars are paying for illegal drugs. The drug overdose rate has tripled under Obama.

          • Camille Gilliam

            I agree,I know about the drug problem, we have had a bad time here where I live, and I’m tired of it. Where i used to work we would end up with homeless hanging around, I would buy one something to eat but I wouldn’t give them any money, because i wasn’t buying their booze or drugs.

          • Lily

            100% for drug testing. They are the ones robbing your home while you work.

  • HardingDies

    ANY ABLE-BODIED PERSON who receives federal or state financial aid should do some kind of work to offset at least some of the funds received – clerical, social, physical – the possibilities are endless. We are always looking for companies and organizations to “adopt a street/highway” so why not use aid recipients?

  • MDKTT20

    Sure they should work for their Medicaid .

  • Ed

    Spare us the crying, you should not have moved to Denver if you could not afford it. I would like to move to Hawaii but I am smart enough to know I cannot afford it and still have what I need to live without help from others. If the taxes I have to pay were less I could afford it, but we are forced to support those who will not support themselves. Note I did not say “can’t” but said won’t.

  • JMH

    I agree. In the 70’s I would go to retirement centers once or twice a month to play card games or chess.
    Very depressing place but I witnessed the folks eyes happiness when they saw me. They would talk up a storm. Still today I find myself dealing with Alzheimer’s with my Mom. Again my path is to get her laughing and making sure she’s good. Working with homeless families I think I got as much out of helping as they did receiving.
    TO ME, This is what Life is About!
    Time to get back to the basics- that’s a good song and so true!

  • guestimate

    The jobs are in China now, they are not coming back. repugnants are dinosaurs, out of touch with their constituents and their own souls. National healthcare works everywhere but here, why is that.