Analysis: Non-Medicaid Expansion States Putting Recipients in a Jam With Work Requirements

Jun 12, 2018

A new analysis says there are problems with Medicaid work requirements in states like Oklahoma that didn’t expand the program.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Judy Solomon said the people who would be affected by work requirements face a lot of barriers to meeting them.

"Such as a lack of transportation, living in a rural part of the state, not having, you know, skills or training, and often having health conditions that may not rise to the level of a disability but interfere with work," Solomon said.

CBPP's Jessica Schubel said that will be tough for low-income, potentially single-parent families.

"Lack of child care assistance is a major concern for all parents that may be subject to these work requirement proposals. That’s because they have to figure out how to balance child care responsibilities with working 80 hours or more per month, every month," Schubel said.

While Oklahoma proposes 20 hours a week of work, volunteering or job training for 18- to 50-year-olds without dependents, around 8,000 parents and caretakers are the only people they could apply to.

Solomon said it’s unlikely Medicaid recipients can alternatively enroll in training programs to do any better than a minimum-wage job.

"There’s no additional funding for job training, transportation or child care, and no requirement that they be provided," Solomon said.

Solomon added many volunteer opportunities also require transportation or specific skills.

In addition, earning just 13 cents more than minimum wage would make someone working 20 hours a week ineligible for Medicaid in Oklahoma.