Commentary: Washington, D.C. - Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), along with CPC Health Task Force Chair Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), released the following statement after guidance was issued by the Trump administration to state Medicaid directors encouraging them to implement controversial work requirements for Medicaid.
“The Trump administration’s announcement today is a thoughtless act against some of the most vulnerable individuals in the country. Pushing a punitive policy at the state level to impose work requirements for a program designed to provide health care to low-income individuals is merely another way for President Trump to attempt to sabotage health care for millions of Americans. This proposal will wreak havoc on the lives of new mothers, victims of the opioid epidemic, people serving as caregivers for their loved ones, and others, who could all lose essential health services.”
“The arguments by the Trump administration that Medicaid or other welfare program recipients ‘do not work’ and ‘abuse the system’ are simply wrong. Medicaid’s core mission is to provide comprehensive health care to low-income families, not to be a job training program. To think that denying health care to Americans who do not have a job or are unable to work will in any way help them to find employment is simply insane. He clearly views lower income individuals, and those with chronic conditions, as expendable.”
“Whether it’s attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, sabotaging open enrollment, jeopardizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, nominating a Big Pharma CEO to lead our nation’s health bureau, or ripping health care away from 13 million Americans with their tax scam bill, President Trump and Republicans continue to wage a war on American families’ health care. Work requirements do not promote the legally required objectives of the Medicaid program and will be justly challenged through our legal system. They represent bad health policy, bad economic policy and should be rejected by the states.”
According to a Kaiser Foundation report, 8 in 10 of non-disabled adult Medicaid enrollees live in working families or work themselves. Additionally, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that work requirements do very little to diminish poverty while adding an unnecessary administrative burden on both Medicaid recipients and states.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.