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Ohio Senator Proposes Increase in Work Requirements for Medicaid Recipients

photo of Sen. Matt Huffman
Ohio Sen. Matt Huffman has proposed a bill that would require 20 hours per week of work for Medicaid recipients ages 18-65.

Ohio is among 15 states that have asked the federal government for permission to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. Ohio’s request would cover people up to age 50, but a state senator has proposed a bill that would go further.

A bill put forth by Republican Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) would require 20 hours of work per week for Medicaid recipients between 18 and 65, except for the disabled and caregivers and those in rehab, college or job training. Huffman told a Senate committee that hundreds of thousands of Medicaid recipients aren’t working or looking for jobs, and he’s heard that able-bodied people have quit jobs they got just for the health insurance.

“There is a real disincentive for people to work," he said. "The government is in effect competing with employers for these workers by providing these benefits.”

Former Gov. John Kasich expanded Medicaid. His administration’s statistics show most in Medicaid expansion are working or exempt, and that enforcing work requirements could cost millions.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.