Gov. Whitmer looks to change Medicaid work requirements in Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer 2019 headshot
Posted at 4:40 PM, Feb 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-08 16:56:24-05

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she plans to work with state legislators to change the Healthy Michigan plan for Medicaid recipients.

She notified the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the changes will protect coverage and ensure Michiganders "can get and keep good jobs."

“As governor, I am committed to doing everything in my power to defend Healthy Michigan and protect coverage for the 680,000 Michiganders who rely on it for quality care,” said Whitmer. “That’s why I plan to take steps in the coming weeks to work with our partners in the legislature to change the Healthy Michigan Plan so that it preserves coverage, promotes work, reduces red tape and minimizes administrative costs.”

Legislation was passed in 2018 that requires able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work an average of 80 hours a month in order to qualify for Medicaid. The federal government approved a waiver in December 2018 so Michigan could implement the requirements.

However, Whitmer said an analysis of similar work requirements in Arkansas shows that 18,000 people in the state lost their insurance within the first seven months of the requirements. Whitmer also said that an independent study conducted by Manatt Health found that once the waiver is implemented, it would take away health insurance from 61,000 to 183,000 Michiganders.

“According to research from the University of Michigan, the Healthy Michigan Plan has more than doubled primary care usage, reduced enrollees’ reliance on emergency rooms by 58 percent, cut uncompensated care by nearly 50 percent, added 30,000 jobs annually, and added $2.3 billion to Michigan’s economy,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We should work together to build on that success.”