Working hard to make people poorer and sicker

As you may have seen, Trump and Co want to force people to work to qualify for Medicaid.

Under the planned new Health and Human Services regulations announced last week, waivers will be granted to states willing to restructure their programs to force individuals who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid to work—generally for about 20 hours a week—to qualify for coverage.

What if they’re not well enough to work? What if they can’t find work? What if they have small children at home and no one else to take care of them?

They should have thought of that before they became poor.

The plan purports to help the poor economically and health-wise, but its almost certain to make people poorer and sicker instead. Nationwide, the changes are expected to drastically reduce enrollment, arbitrarily denying millions of impoverished people access to life-saving medical services.

Anti-poverty and health-care advocates say the waivers, which enable state Medicaid programs to mandate employment for all so-called “able-bodied” adults, are not only cruel but irrational: The vast majority of working-age Medicaid recipients (excluding the elderly and people with disabilities) currently are already employed anyway. Those who aren’t are often facing severe employment barriers precisely because of poor health. According to the think tank CLASP, “over one-third of working-age Medicaid recipients not working are unemployed because of illness or disability.”

They should just build a luxury high rise and get rich; problem solved.

Those who would be forced to find work as part of the administration’s work requirements will likely be tracked into low-wage jobs that simultaneously lack employer-sponsored benefits and leave them ineligible for Medicaid, according to a Community Catalyst analysis: Essentially, they would make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but still not get any benefits from their boss. These workers would also fall into an ever-widening coverage gap: too “rich” for Medicaid, too poor for subsidized insurance the federal health-care exchanges.

It’s what we do here – heap ever more rewards on the already rich, and ever more punishments on the struggling poor.

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