Over ½ of Medicaid recipients now work

As we have reported on, there is a push by the Republican administration and individuals states to now require anyone who receives government benefits, such as Medicaid or food stamps, to participate in some form of work-related activity, whether a job, volunteering, or training. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that many people who receive Medicaid already work.

Here are the stats as of the beginning of 2018/end of 2017. The Kaiser Family Foundation ran some analysis on the Medicaid program that included data from the federal government CMS.

  • -About 60% are working now, with 42% of those in a full time position and 18% in a part time role.
  • -40% do not work.

You may think 40% is a big number who are not involved any work related activity as of the start of 2018. And we agree, that is fairly large percent. But you need to break that down further and look into even more details. So lets do that for the forty percent of Medicaid recipients that are not currently in a work-related activity.

  • 13% of the total number of people on Medicaid do not work because they are too sick too and/or are disabled.
  • 12% are taking care of someone in their family or at home. So this would be considered a caregiver type role, meaning maybe the person is taking care of that disabled or sick family member.
  • 6% are in school, such as a college, so they are not working. There is an argument that could be made here that maybe they should work part time or volunteer.
  • 4% are retired. Once again, a good argument could be made here maybe they can volunteer and/or work-part time in order to get their Medicaid.
  • 2.5% are looking for a job, so they are in transition.
  • 1.5% fall into other….a mixture of categories and/or the Kaiser Family Foundation could not determine the exact cause.

Those are the individual reasons for the 40% who are on Medicaid but are not in any type of work-related activity. After looking at the data, we too think that the reason for most of them not working is fairly legitimate. Maybe the students and retirees could work or volunteer a little for their health care. But we find it hard to say someone who is legitimately ill, disabled, or caring for them full time should be working. As that is tough to make that argument.

As of March 5, 2018, there have now been 3 states in which work requirements have been approved by the federal government. They include Arkansas, Indiana, and Kentucky. Each of them will require a combination of employment, volunteering, or job training in order to get their free or low cost health care from Medicaid.

While more states are soon expected to follow, considering the Kaiser data shows that with most recipients already involved in a work related activity, the impact may not be as great as once thought. But anyone who is on some type of public aid should plan on more work requirement for Medicaid or other benefits, and they may prepare for cut backs in many of these programs too.

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