|Posted:||December 22, 2021 11:13 AM|
|From:||Senator Scott Martin and Sen. David G. Argall|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Promoting Work and Community Engagement Among Medical Assistance Beneficiaries|
|In the near future, we intend to reintroduce legislation that will encourage able-bodied adults to seek and retain family-sustaining jobs, increase individual income and community engagement, save taxpayer dollars and reduce enrollment for one of Pennsylvania’s most expensive entitlement programs. At over $30 billion a year, Pennsylvania ranks 4th in the nation for Medicaid spending and the IFO estimates that state spending (both total and per enrollee) for the program will increase 18% by 2023-24.
For reference, Pennsylvania spent more than $28 billion annually on this program three short years ago. The approximately $2 billion increase alone not only confirms the exponential growth trajectory for this program’s price tag, but highlights growing structural costs that effectively cut into the Commonwealth’s ability to support its citizens. With the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, our ability to properly stem unnecessary expenditures is especially important in or efforts to effectively allocate the most relief to those who truly need it.
The bill would require the Commonwealth to apply for a federal waiver under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to require that a medical assistance recipient meet the minimum qualifications to either work, seek employment, attend job training programs, or volunteer in their community to receive Medicaid benefits. The individual could also meet the minimum requirements through any combination of the above qualifying activities.
Persons exempted from the requirement include those who are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65, disabled, pregnant, incarcerated, receiving mental health or addiction treatment, or is the primary caregiver for someone who is under the age of 6, permanently disabled or receiving hospice care.
Our shared goal to help individuals and families rise out of poverty and achieve long-term financial independence align with this objective and the requirements currently in place for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Working is known to reduce opioid use, recidivism, and emergency room usage. According to the PA Department of Human Services, prior to the pandemic, the number of non-disabled adults between the ages of 19-64 on Medicaid reporting $0 in earned income was 495,719. Previously conducted surveys of 400 Democrats, Republicans and Independents in Pennsylvania revealed that 67% support Medicaid work requirements for able-bodied adults. Surveys at that time also showed that 75% support the requirement nationally.
Passing this bill would ensure these taxpayer provided resources would go to those who are unable to work and are truly in need.
Please consider joining us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.
Introduced as SB1247