Northern Michigan Leaders React to Senate Advancing Medicaid Work-Requirement Bill

The state senate passing a bill on Thursday that would require some people on Medicaid to either work or lose their coverage.

If it becomes law, the bill would require able-bodied people between the age of 19 and 64 to work at least 29 hours a week.

According to Senate Bill 897, an “able-bodied” individual is someone between 19 and 64, who doesn’t have a disability, isn’t pregnant, isn’t caring for a child under six, and isn’t a full-time student.

If you check all those boxes and are on Medicaid, but you don’t have job, you’d have to find work, if this bill becomes law.

“Generally I support some sort of productivity and some sort of give-back if you will to the community that folks live in, if they are receiving some sort of assistance and that’s on a case by case basis,” 105th District Representative Triston Cole, said.

The bill is now off to the House, where some Northern Michigan lawmakers say, they’re on board with the concept.

“We are a long ways from something happening on this as far as becoming law, but I generally support the concept of what’s being worked on,” Rep. Cole, added.

Supporters of the bill argue it would get many off of government assistance and could even help with a workforce shortage.

“There are workforce issues here in Cheboygan County and in Northern Michigan,” Scott Herceg, said.

Scott Herceg is the executive director of the Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce, he says they haven’t taken a stance on the bill yet, but can see both good and bad.

“The economy is dramatically coming back, especially here in Cheboygan and the gap right now is a lot of the workforce, so on that side of things I could see how this bill might help,” Herceg, said.

“It’s going to help some people but there could be an adverse effect on others too,” Herceg, added.