For Immediate Release
September 23, 2019
Gov. Whitmer signs legislation to help Healthy Michigan Plan enrollees, but Legislature rejects $10 million she requested in DHHS budget for outreach and support
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature of Senate Bill 362 into law today. The bipartisan legislation addresses some concerns with Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements taking effect in January 2020 and the high potential for inadvertently lost coverage for enrollees. The legislation gives beneficiaries more time to verify compliance with the law and exempts people from reporting workforce engagement if the state can verify their compliance through other available data. The statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.
“If a single person loses life-saving healthcare coverage inadvertently because of these work requirements, it’s one too many. The Michigan League for Public Policy has opposed work requirements for the Healthy Michigan Plan and Medicaid since President Trump wrongfully opened the door to them in early 2018, and we oppose them just as strongly today. We do support Senate Bill 362 and its intent to reduce red tape, provide some flexibility to the reporting requirements, and limit the potential harms of the Medicaid work requirements.
“However, the only true solution to fending off the alarming estimated coverage losses is to eliminate the Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements altogether. The governor and the Department of Health and Human Services are simply doing the best they can with a bad piece of policy they’ve inherited. And intentionally or not, the Legislature has further stacked the odds against the more than half a million people who depend on the Healthy Michigan Plan by nixing the governor’s $10 million funding request to help the department with outreach and education on the new rules and to provide work supports to enrollees trying to comply with the new rules.
“Confusion among beneficiaries not knowing they had to report hours—or even how to report them—has been the main reason for jaw-dropping coverage losses in other states, and for legal challenges that have blocked Medicaid work requirements in three of four other states that have implemented them. Now, instead of learning from these states’ mistakes and working with the governor to fund efforts to prevent them, the Michigan Legislature is setting us up to repeat those failures, harming residents in the process.”
League CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs testified in support of Senate Bill 362—and in opposition to Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements—on June 13, 2019.
Visit the League’s Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements resources page for more information and analyses on other states’ problems with Medicaid work requirements and the threats they pose to health coverage in Michigan.
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.