From our friends at the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.
The Majority of Colorado Medicaid recipients who can work do work.
- The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing found that 76% of non-elderly adults and children enrolled in Medicaid in Colorado live in a family with at least one part-time or full-time worker.
Non-working Medicaid recipients are either looking for work or face substantial barriers to employment.
- A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that among unemployed adults who are likely to gain Medicaid coverage in Medicaid expansion states:
- 29% were not working because they were taking care of home or family,
- 20% were looking for work,
- 8% were in school,
- 17% were ill or disabled, and
- 10% were retired.
- In Colorado, the Medicaid expansion offered health coverage for the first time for disabled people on the Aid to Needy Disabled (“AND”) program. Participation in AND requires a determination of disability by the Colorado Department of Human Services.
- 41,000 veterans in Colorado rely on Medicaid; the total number of veterans on Colorado Medicaid increased by 65% following implementation of the Medicaid expansion.
- A Medicaid work requirement could prevent people with substance use disorders such as opioid addiction from getting care – care that could allow some people to improve their health and join in the workforce.
Medicaid can help those who can work keep their job or search for employment.
- An Ohio study found that 8% of those who were unemployed stated that enrollment in Medicaid made it easier to seek employment and 52.1% of those already employed reported Medicaid coverage made it easier to continue working.
- A University of Michigan study found that 55% of those covered under Medicaid expansion that were out of work said job seeking improved after coverage, and 69% of those already working reported doing better at work after gaining health insurance.
- A Medicaid work requirement could block people with hourly and seasonal jobs from keeping their coverage. Many low-wage workers have variable hours, and an inflexible work requirement could cost them their coverage if their hours drop — which could make it difficult for them to continue working.
- Research demonstrates that being insured improves health outcomes and a person’s ability to work. In fact, one study that CMS cites explains that “income does not have a causal effect on life expectancy.”
The data and experience with work requirements in other programs does not support work requirements as an effective tool.
- The Urban Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities conducted two different studies on the effectiveness of work requirements in other federal public assistance programs – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and federal housing assistance – and found that for each program, most people were already working whether they were subject to work requirements or not, and for those who were out of work, the work requirements did not improve their employment status, and most recipients actually either remained poor or became poorer.
Work requirements reduce low-income families’ access to care and jeopardize children’s health.
- Parental loss of health insurance caused by work requirements could cause financial and social stress that would have a negative impact on child health and development.