Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) has asked the Trump administration for stricter work requirements to receive Medicaid benefits. The new guideline would require able-bodied adults with no dependents to work at least 20 hours per week by the end of the first year of the changes in an attempt to “pay” for their services. The governor believes it would save the state over $2 billion during the course of the next five years.
The changes to the waiver proposal are aimed at decreasing the cost to the state of running the Medicaid program, which is jointly financed by the federal government. According to Bevin, the changes would save the state $2.4 billion over five years.
Alright. Let’s assume that we all think it’s a great idea that everyone chips in for their portion – I know my family pays a decent chunk every month to keep employer coverage. However, these changes will not affect the people the governor thinks they will.
This, at least, won’t affect stay-at-home mothers or fathers. Those with dependents are exempt. These changes also won’t affect those with documented disabilities – those who have been deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration. Both of these exemptions are fair and reasonable. We can only assume the governor means people who don’t work at all, have no responsibilities in the form of a post-fetus child and aren’t already receiving Medicare.
The majority of young people are out as long as they put in their 20 hours per week. So, really, that leaves those who already can’t find a job or older people – those who are on the verge of Medicare but just aren’t quite there, yet. Some of these people have worked all their lives and a sickness has knocked them down before they could retire. That illness may not have been “approved” by the SSA yet. The changes will affect those who fall between those cracks. So, unfortunately for those people, they can just go die according to Bevin’s plan.
We understand that Bevin is trying to think practically, but practicality can cause a person to lose empathy. Some circumstances do not fit neatly into rigid guidelines. Most likely, those who will be hit hardest by the changes are those who are already suffering.