April 27, 2017

Florida House Passes Legislation That Would Require Medicaid Recipients to Work

The Florida House passed House Bill (HB) 7117, which would require able-bodied adult Medicaid recipients to work or look for work. Such requirements would put thousands of Florida families at risk of losing Medicaid coverage.

Most adult, non-disabled Medicaid beneficiaries work or live in working families.[1] Those who don’t work face significant health challenges (e.g., cancer, mental illness) or family caregiving responsibilities. Such circumstances limit their ability to work or reduce their ability to compete for jobs.[2]  Taking away these participants’ health coverage will decrease their prospects for future employment.[3]

The experience of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF), which includes cash assistance for families in deep poverty, gives us a preview.[4]  Already-struggling families would lose Medicaid coverage because one or both adults are unable to work or face major barriers to finding and retaining employment. As a result, Floridians would pay for increased uncompensated health care through higher insurance premiums to offset the costs of families that would otherwise qualify for Medicaid.

Families that qualify for Medicaid coverage are eligible because they are poor. Poverty reflects a lack of funds, not a lack of willingness to work. We urge the Legislature to enact sensible public policy and delete the work requirements in HB 7117.


[1] Garfield, Rachel et al., Understanding the intersection of Medicaid and Work, Kaiser Family Foundation, p. 1, 2017. Accessed via: http://kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/understanding-the-intersection-of-medicaid-and-work/ Kaiser Family Foundation.

[2] Katch, Hannah, Medicaid Work Requirements Would Limit Health Care access without Boosting Employment, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, p. 4, 2016. Accessed via: http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicaid-work-requirement-would-limit-health-care-access-without-significantly

[3] Ibid, p. 4-5

[4] Supra at 2, pp. 1 and 5

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