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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sen. John Neely Kennedy calls for work requirement for many Medicaid recipients

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 5:00 PM

click to enlarge Sen. John Neely Kennedy. - PHOTO BY TAMMY ANTHONY BAKER
  • Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

Calling Medicaid a "Sharknado-sized health insurance program for 20 percent of
Americans," Sen. John Neely Kennedy wrote in an opinion column today he would be filing legislation called the “Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017," which would require "able-bodied adult enrollees" without dependents to work, go to school or perform community service for 20 hours a week in order to receive Medicaid health benefits:
My bill is a common sense approach to reducing America's reliance on entitlement programs. Its Medicaid work requirement is similar to the current work requirement for food stamps: Adults between the ages of 18 and 55, who have no dependents and are not disabled, must spend 20 hours a week working in a job, going to school or doing community service in order to continue to receive free health care through Medicaid. I believe there is a close correlation between getting up in the morning and getting ahead in the world. Our goal should be to get people off Medicaid because they can afford their own health insurance. I don’t want to take Medicaid away from people in need. I do want fewer people to need Medicaid. 
Later in the column, Kennedy mentioned the problems of unemployed oil patch workers and Louisiana flood victims, but stopped short of exempting them from the work requirement:
I know our oilfield families and our flood victims are hurting in Louisiana, and I’m not looking to add to their hurt. I’m working hard to put our oilfield workers back to work and to get our flood victims the assistance they need in order to recover. This bill is not about them. It’s about able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 55 who have no dependents and who have been unemployed for years.
Earlier this year, Kennedy blamed Gov. John Bel Edwards' acceptance of the federal Medicaid funds for everything from low teacher pay in the state to the traffic problems in Baton Rouge:
"The rising cost of Medicaid is why TOPS has been cut," wrote Kennedy, who was Louisiana's treasurer before being elected to the Senate. "The rising cost of Medicaid is why we can’t pay our teachers more. The rising cost of Medicaid is why the interstate is a parking lot in Baton Rouge. The rising cost of Medicaid is a core reason the state is running deficits."
No copy of the “Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017" was immediately available.

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