Obamacare offered Medicaid to millions of poor and near-poor adults. The Republicans would phase much of this out and — in the latest version of their bill, rewritten to appease GOP ultra-conservatives — encourage states to link remaining Medicaid benefits to work. Specifically, states could deny coverage under Medicaid for able-bodied, childless adults who do not work, study, train or seek work, and those states that did so would get extra federal financing.
“The work requirements are important. They’re something that is restorative to people’s self-worth . . . sense of themselves, about working when they’re able to,” President Trump’s health and human services secretary, Tom Price, said Sunday on ABC’s ‘This Week.’”
To be sure, this sentiment has its place. When awarding cash, such as welfare or unemployment benefits, government must avoid creating disincentives to work, for the sake both of the recipients and of the taxpayers who support them.
However, to repeat: One’s susceptibility to illness does not vary with work effort. There is precious little to be gained, either financially or politically, and certainly not morally, by linking Medicaid and work.