Whitmer signs Medicaid work requirement fix, criticizes GOP’s DHHS budget

    Protestors carry signs as they demonstrate against proposed cuts to Medical and Medicare outside San Francisco city hall on September 21, 2011 in San Francisco, California. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law on Monday more flexibility for Medicaid recipients on work requirements and reporting rules.

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer | Casey Hull

    Senate Bill 362 exempts those trying to enroll in Medicaid from reporting all required work requirements if the state can acquire the data through other means. The new law also grants applicants a month to report their compliance and a grace period after the work requirements deadline.

    The state House of Representatives passed the bill on Sept. 10 with a 105-4 vote. The Senate passed it with a 37-0 vote on Sept. 12.

    “The changes I signed today will reduce the number of people who must jump hurdles to provide proof of what they are already doing, but there’s more we must do to mitigate their harmful impact,” Whitmer said in a press release Monday. “I ask that the legislature work with me to protect coverage for thousands of Michiganders.” 

    Medicaid work requirements tweak clear House

    In her full signing statement, Whitmer called on the Legislature to continue to support health care by including more funding in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget that’s supposed to go into effect Oct. 1. 

    “The legislature’s planned budget makes a bad situation worse,” Whitmer said. 

    In her proposed budget, she requested $10 million for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), some of which would cover the training costs to inform recipients of the work requirements. 

    “Accordingly, it now appears that Republican Legislative leaders are less interested in giving Michiganders the facts and tools to comply with work requirements than in taking away Michiganders’ health insurance,” she said. 

    State sends out letters to Medicaid enrollees on new work requirements

    In February, health care consulting and law firm Manatt Health released a study that showed around 200,000 people could lose Medicaid coverage as a result of the work requirements. 

    The governor is taking additional steps to automatically suspend work requirements if data shows that a significant number of Michiganders are at risk of losing their health care due to the new compliance requirements. 

    Allison Donahue
    Allison Donahue covers education, women's issues, LGBTQ issues and immigration. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.

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