In News Releases

For Immediate Release

February 8, 2019

State’s top leader wisely sounds alarm on Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements

 Gov. Whitmer doing what she can to protect healthcare for 680,000 residents with lower incomes

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s letter issued today approving the Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements waiver while warning of its consequences. The statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“Requiring Healthy Michigan Plan participants to work is bad news in and of itself, but the law is even more nefarious than that. It forces the governor’s hand by requiring her either to accept the work requirements—a policy she clearly has concerns with—or risk eliminating the Healthy Michigan Plan altogether, which puts the care of 680,000 people in jeopardy. It is an unfortunate statement on how this public policy was crafted that the only recourse our state’s top elected official currently has is a letter, but we appreciate that Gov. Whitmer is doing what she can to oppose this and protect Michiganders’ healthcare.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Republican legislators should heed these warnings—especially the projected loss of healthcare for nearly 200,000 Michigan residents—and work with the governor and the Department of Health and Human Services to revise this policy and reduce its adverse impact.”

“It’s extremely unfortunate that Republicans in Lansing are following the lead of President Donald Trump instead of the chorus of voices that understand the danger of Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements. They’re not listening to the hundreds of thousands of struggling Michigan residents this will affect, most of whom are already working if they’re able because they have healthcare. They’re not listening to state health policy advocates like us, who have paired hard data and heartfelt personal stories to put a face on this. They’re not listening to the other states like Arkansas who have followed this same path and uncovered major flaws. And they’re not listening to national policy experts and research and analysis, like the report that came out this week that this new law could cost 27 percent of Healthy Michigan Plan participants their health coverage. But maybe, just maybe, today they’ll listen to the head of our state government and the ultimate advocate for our state residents.”


This week, Manatt, a national consulting firm and division of the legal and consulting firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, released a new report finding that “an estimated 61,000 to 183,000 people—between 9 and 27 percent of the State’s Medicaid expansion population—will lose Medicaid coverage in Michigan over a one-year period. The high end is consistent with the experience in Arkansas to date, but the range reflects the uncertainty of impacts as work requirements are implemented and policies and practices evolve over time.” The national Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also released a report last month citing the many problems with Medicaid work requirements and what they could mean in Arkansas.

The League has been working tirelessly to first prevent this policy from happening, and since its passage, to limit the adverse impact on people’s healthcare as much as possible. The League has written about Arkansas’ problems in this press release and blog. The League also focused on protecting Medicaid and healthcare in its new policy agenda, The Owner’s Manual for Michigan, as well as in the 2020 state budget.


The Michigan League for Public Policy,, 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.

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