Medicaid work requirement bill nears final reading

in News/Health care

A bill that would require Medicaid recipients to work or attend school is nearing its final House vote.

SF 144 cleared its second vote in the House on Monday, setting it up for a third and final reading by representatives on Tuesday.

The bill would require Medicaid recipients to work, do volunteer work or attend school to maintain their eligibility. The bill’s supporters have said the requirements would affect about 3,200 people.

Exceptions would be in place for people with serious medical conditions or disabilities, pregnancy and for people in substance abuse programs.

Backers maintain the bill would help the state identify people who are receiving Medicaid assistance but should not be.

“I wouldn’t say freeloaders,” said Rep. Clarence Styvar, R-Cheyenne. “I’d say people that are working the system.”

But opponents argue people on Medicaid are already encountering enough challenges without facing a requirement to find a job or attend school.

“Let’s actually try to help those folks, not put them in a place where they’re at further disadvange, i.e. by losing thier health benefits,” said Rep. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette.

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