Medicaid work requirements … are working

The new calls by top congressional Democrats to halt Medicaid work requirements are just another attempt by the left to keep as many Americans trapped in government dependency as possible.

In their letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, top Democrats cited Arkansas, the first state to implement a work requirement, as an example of how the program "threatens" Americans, calling work a “restrictive condition.” But no one is forcing the elderly, children, parents with young children, or disabled individuals, among others, to comply with a work requirement. They’re simply asking that adults who are capable of working — or of volunteering or training, on a part-time basis — do so in order to collect taxpayer-funded benefits.

Since the requirement was implemented, thousands of adults have left the welfare program. This is good news.

Getting able-bodied adults off welfare quickly is the best thing for them. Research has shown that when people go back to work after work requirements are implemented, their incomes double or triple in just a year or two. Getting these able-bodied adults back to work also frees up resources for the truly needy — the very people that the Medicaid program was designed to help.

It begs the question—why are Democrats so against work?

At a time with record-low unemployment and over seven million open jobs, lawmakers should be championing policies that move more people back to work— not advocating for the opposite.

It’s an indication of how out of touch these progressive leaders are with everyday Americans. Nationwide, our research finds 75 percent of voters support Medicaid work requirements. In Arkansas alone, where Medicaid work requirements have actually been implemented, 71 percent of voters support the reform.

Americans know the benefits of work.

The good news is that across the country, many state leaders are giving voters the reforms they want, pushing to expand work requirements in food stamps and implementing Medicaid work requirements. And with the Trump administration supporting common-sense welfare reform, it’s likely that we’ll continue to see a wave of reforms that move able-bodied adults off the sidelines and into work.


This is good news for the economy—it will help employers who are desperate for workers to fill empty jobs. It’s also great news for millions of able-bodied Americans who will experience the benefits of work that no government check can provide.

That’s something to celebrate, not attack.

Sam Adolphsen is the vice president of executive affairs at the Foundation for Government Accountability.