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Government & Politics

Ohio Senator Wants to Increase Age of Exemption from Medicaid Work Requirement

photo of Sen. Matt Huffman
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Under Sen. Matt Huffman's (R-Lima) proposal, those over age 65 could be exempted from Medicaid work requirements. Currently it's anyone over 50.

The federal government has given Ohio the okay to require non-disabled Medicaid expansion recipients to work 20 hours a week unless they’re caregiving, in job training or college or over 50. One state lawmaker is disappointed, because he wanted that age limit to be higher.

Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said former Gov. John Kasich asked for permission to exempt workers over 50, when lawmakers had wanted it to be 55 – and he’s proposed a bill to make it 65.  Huffman said providing government health insurance to those Ohioans when others are working for it creates a disincentive to work.

“Let’s think about the economy. Let’s think about the fairness. Let’s think about the cost to the taxpayers if we don’t want to think about what really is, in my mind, a very fundamental primary issue," he said.

Huffman said he’s heard from nursing homes that people are quitting low-paying jobs they took for health insurance. And he said work requirements in Maine led to lower Medicaid and overall welfare caseloads. Medicaid expansion advocates are concerned about the costs of implementing work requirements, especially on counties.