Medicaid work requirements tweak clear House

    Michigan Capitol, March 22, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

    Legislation aimed at loosening Michigan’s new work requirements for Medicaid is one step closer to hitting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk. 

    Sens. Curtis Hertel at the Fiscal Year 2020 budget presentation | Casey Hull

    The state House of Representatives on Tuesday passed on a 105-4 vote Senate Bill 362, sponsored by state Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing), which has myriad bipartisan cosponsors. 

    As the Advance has previously reported, the legislation aims to grant Medicaid recipients more flexibility in reporting the number of hours they’ve worked as a condition of coverage, while also allowing the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to determine compliance using other data it may already have.

    The federal government approved Michigan’s plans for adding employment as a requirement for receiving Medicaid, a growing policy priority of GOP state legislatures. 

    Experts: Medicaid work requirement tweaks unlikely to stop many from losing coverage

    But concerns emerged when a February report estimated that around 200,000 people could lose Medicaid coverage as a result of the work requirements. It’s unclear how the changes now approved by both chambers might impact that number. 

    The Senate is on Wednesday expected to concur on the legislation, which would send the bill to Whitmer. Her spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment as to whether the governor plans to sign the bill, but Whitmer has previously said she supports changes to the state’s initial law. 

    State sends out letters to Medicaid enrollees on new work requirements

    The only House members to vote against the legislation on Tuesday were state Reps. Sue Allor (R-Wolverine), Steve Johnson (R-Wayland), Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Twp.) and Matt Maddock (R-Milford), according to the House Clerk’s office. 

    Last week, DHHS began sending out informational letters to Medicaid enrollees about work requirements.

    Nick Manes
    Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.

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