Ohio State Senator Matt Huffman is a cheap labor conservative. Like other cheap labor conservatives, he believes people using public assistance should instead be working. Huffman has introduced a bill that would require able bodied people on Medicaid from 18 to 65 to work 20 hours a week or lose benefits. His plan would not do what he thinks it will and would be a huge gift for employers who like cheap labor.
Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, said, “There were folks who were working, and they had health insurance at work but when the government said we’ll provide health insurance for you, they left work, and of course those are able-bodied folks who were working.”Ohio state senator wants stricter work requirements for Medicaid recipients
Huffman, testifying Tuesday before a Senate committee considering his proposal, said that in his northwest Ohio district he’s heard of “many” employees of nursing homes who left their jobs “because they were working just for the health insurance.”
“There is a real disincentive for people to work if you are at a certain income category and you qualify (for Medicaid). The government is in effect competing with employers for these workers by providing these benefits,” he said.
Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, pointed to a recent Medicaid survey that showed half of the Medicaid expansion population was already working, and 60 percent of unemployed beneficiaries said having health care made it easier to look for a job. Of those leaving the rolls, 71 percent said it was because they found a job or their income increased.
“Aren’t we already seeing the success that we hoped for? (Do) we need those work requirements when folks are telling us just having health care helped them seek and find work?” Antonio asked.
Huffman said there are “hundreds of thousands” who are not working or looking for a job.
He also noted that in other states that have imposed work requirements, Medicaid rolls dropped “dramatically.”
Senator Huffman has no idea how public assistance works and uses the same debunked tropes many conservatives use to justify punishing poor people for being poor. He claims that qualifying for Medicaid is a disincentive to work and he says there are “hundreds of thousands” who are not working or looking for a job without offering any actual evidence other than anecdotal.
Huffman said “Why should the government be competing for these workers with the private sector?”
That is the key to his actual agenda. He wants to help out business’ get some employee’s cheap where they won’t have to provide insurance since the worker would still get Medicaid.
Nearly 3 million people in Ohio are covered by Medicaid (21% of the total population). While four in five (79%) of enrollees are children and adults, more than one-half (59%) of the state’s Medicaid spending is for the elderly and people with disabilities. That means only a small number of enrollees are able-bodied.
Work requirements don’t do what cheap labor conservatives say they do especially when the plans never include funding to help people transition to work or provide child care if needed.
Senate Bill 25 is just theater to publicly punish poor people for being poor. Huffman should be ashamed.