Martin, Argall Call for Commonsense Work Requirements for Medicaid Recipients

HARRISBURG – Senators Scott Martin (R-13) and David G. Argall (R-29) will introduce a bill in the near future that will create commonsense work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.

The legislation will require medical assistance recipients to meet minimum qualifications to either work, seek employment, attend job training programs, or volunteer in their community in order to receive benefits. The measure is designed to encourage more recipients to seek and retain family-sustaining jobs.

Work requirements already exist for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“Medicaid is one of Pennsylvania’s most expensive entitlement programs, and the cost of providing services will only continue to rise in the future,” Martin said. “We need to make sure our public assistance programs are encouraging able-bodied workers to find a viable pathway out of poverty and not perpetuating a cycle of dependence.”

The requirements would only apply to recipients who are physically able to work. A number of recipients would not have to meet the proposed requirements, including individuals who meet any of the following criteria:

  • under the age of 18,
  • over the age of 65,
  • disabled, pregnant, or incarcerated,
  • receiving mental health or addiction treatment,
  • the primary caregiver for someone who is permanently disabled, or receiving hospice care, or is under the age of 6.

According to the Department of Human Services, there are nearly half a million non-disabled state residents between the ages of 19 and 64 who report no income.

“We do not want to place new burdens on people who legitimately are unable to work. We are not trying to drag somebody out of a treatment facility or force great-grandma to work in a coal mine,” Argall said. “Work requirements are not callous or mean-spirited. In reality, they will only lead to lower costs to taxpayers and more people climbing the economic ladder and achieving independence and self-sufficiency.”

Similar legislation was approved by the General Assembly in 2017 and 2018, but Governor Wolf vetoed both bills.


CONTACT:  Terry Trego (717) 787-6535 (Senator Martin)

                        Christine Verdier (570) 773-0891 (Senator Argall)

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