This week, the same federal judge who halted Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky issued a ruling to do the same in New Hampshire, unleashing a frenzied attack on work and commonsense welfare reform with little regard for the facts.
A quick look at New Hampshire’s Medicaid program paints a different picture and shows just how desperately needed work requirements are to bring the program back in line with Medicaid’s original intent. When the state expanded Medicaid to able-bodied adults, over 50,000 people signed up—more than state officials expected would ever enroll. As a result, New Hampshire experienced cost overruns, which have resulted in budget overruns that the state has been forced to deal with for years, threatening resources for other critical priorities. Every dollar spent on able-bodied adults is a dollar that can’t go towards education, public safety, or the truly needy.
To make matters worse, nearly half of ObamaCare expansion enrollees—working-age adults with no physical or mental disability keeping them from working—do not work at all. We need work requirements to put these adults back on the path to work and self-sufficiency.
Getting able-bodied adults off welfare and back into the workforce quickly is the best thing for them. And it’s also the best thing for the truly needy—as more able-bodied adults move off welfare and back to work, there are more resources available for the those who need them most, the very people that the Medicaid program was designed to help.
Work requirements help individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency—the very same core objectives of the Medicaid program, a fact that’s been ignored repeatedly by those who fight so hard against them.
If there’s any doubt about whether work requirements truly fulfill that objective, a review of Arkansas’ experience puts doubters to rest. Before the same Obama-appointed judge halted Arkansas’ Medicaid work requirement, more than 14,000 Arkansans left Medicaid because of increased incomes. Taxpayers were on track to save at least $300 million per year. The work requirement was working—lifting able-bodied adults out of dependency and moving them back to work.
It’s not hard to imagine that New Hampshire would have experienced this same success, especially given the effort the state undertook to notify enrollees of the requirement. But they weren’t given the opportunity to let the reform do what it was designed to do: work.
Despite officials delaying implementation until October 1, the requirement was halted—and it begs the question, why? The rulings in Kentucky and Arkansas are actively being appealed, with research showing the success of the requirement to fulfill Medicaid’s core objective. Beyond the legal implications, polling shows that 75 percent of voters support Medicaid work requirements.
Americans know the power of work, and yet the war against work has gone so far that some on the Left are now intent on using the judicial system to trap as many people as possible in dependency.
The ruling in New Hampshire hurts able-bodied adults in the state and across the country that would have benefitted from the self-sufficiency and dignity that work provides, and a is a temporary setback for the truly needy who depend on limited resources that will instead go to able-bodied adults who don’t work at all.
The good news is that the Trump Administration has made it clear that it will continue to fight to move Americans from dependency into the workforce across the country. The evidence is clear: work requirements work. Now we just need activist judges to get the message.