Upwards of 180,000 Michigan welfare recipients who are getting Medicaid health care insurance for the first time, are at risk of losing that coverage if they don’t get a job.  

Advocates are hoping Republicans will slap a pause on the work requirement law.

Gilda Jacobs from the Michigan League for Public Policy says, “I believe Senator Shirkey should place a pause on this.”

The Senate Republican leader Mike Shirkey worked hand and hand with former Gov. Rick Snyder to expand the state’s Medicaid health care coverage for the first time to well over 600,000 recipients and their families.

But afterwards, legislative Republicans came back with a new mandate: these recipients needed to find a job or their benefits will stop.

Various welfare advocates are pleading with the senator to hit the pause button because there was no money to pay for public transportation for those jobs seekers who don’t own a car or can’t afford day care for their kids while they hunt for a job.

“They did not put money into being able to do that,” explained Ms. Jacobs.

In 2020 when the law takes effect  between 60,000 and 183,000 recipients could end up in more expensive emergency rooms for their health care needs.

“When you lose your health care benefits, these persons go back to the more expensive emergency rooms for treatment,” adds Jacobs. “And in the long run that costs the taxpayers more money to pay for it.”

For months the Whitmer administration, which opposes the mandatory work requirement, has been lobbying to rollback the work clause.

“The work requirement was a mistake,” said Whitmer’s welfare director Robert Gordon. “It’s unfortunate people’s health insurance will be at risk.”

Skubick: “Will you go back to lawmakers to roll it back?”

Gordon: “We have had those conversations.”

Skubick: “How is it going?”

Gordon: “It’s an ongoing conversation.”

But the governor’s administration may be talking with the Republicans but it’s not making progress.

Skubick: “You are not there yet and you may not get there?”

Gordon: “I think that’s right.”