In Michigan, the Republicans have formulated a plan to impose work requirements on certain Medicaid recipients to try and push people into getting jobs and stop utilizing government assistance. There is only one glaring problem with the plan, it is only for black people.
Obviously, it would be illegal to pass legislation specifying stating race as a reason to impose work requirements, so the GOP lawmakers are imposing it by county. Specifically, people living in counties that are mostly white are exempt and counties that are mostly black...well, you get the idea.
See, there are currently 700,000 Michigan residents receiving Medicaid benefits that would have to meet the work requirements if no one gets the exemption. However, when you look at the numbers provided by the Michigan department of Health and Human services, those 700,000 people are 23% black and 57% white. Yet, when you apply the exemptions according to the GOP plan only 1.2% of the African Americans would be eligible for exemption but 85% of the white’s would be eligible.
The Republicans claim the exemptions are meant to help Michigan residents maintain health insurance in places where work may be scarce, primarily in rural counties where unemployment rates are at 8.5% or higher. However, people living in Detroit and Flint would not be exempt from having to meet the work requirements, even though both cities have an unemployment rates well above that 8.5%, but then again, nearly 44% of Michigan’s black residents reside in those two cities.
If those Medicaid recipients fail to meet the work requirements, they could lose their benefits for up to a year.
The plan has already been approved by the Michigan State Senate, and is now being debated in the House, but not everyone is pleased with the work requirements or the way it is being executed, just ask Abdul El-Sayed, a Democrat running for governor:
“This requirement has been tailored so it targets urban African American Michiganders. We have a responsibility to make sure it does not pass for anybody, but in particular those who are systematically marginalized. It’s ridiculous the legislature would even consider something like this.”
Read more about the plan, “Michigan’s GOP has a plan to shield some people from Medicaid work requirements. They’re overwhelmingly white.” written by Jeff Stein and Andrew Van Dam and posted by The Washington Post on May 11, 2018