Michigan governor calls for pause in Medicaid work requirements

Michigan governor calls for pause in Medicaid work requirements
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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is calling for a pause in the state’s Medicaid work requirements to avoid coverage losses on Jan. 1, The Associated Press reported on Monday.

Michigan’s work requirements for Medicaid recipients are set to take effect on New Year's Day. Whitmer’s call for a pause, however, would have to be agreed to by the Republican-controlled legislature, raising doubts about whether it will occur. 

Requiring Medicaid recipients to work is a policy championed by the Trump administration and by several Republican-led states, but it has been denounced by Democrats who say it causes people to lose their health care coverage. 

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Several other states that have passed work requirements, such as Kentucky and Arkansas, have had them blocked by the courts. In October, Indiana suspended its work requirements after advocates sued to block them. 

Michigan is now facing a similar lawsuit, filed last month, but its work requirements are still scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1. 

Whitmer said a pause is “the most reasonable thing to do” to prevent people from losing coverage, the AP reported. 

Medicaid work requirements have been one of the signature health care policies of the Trump administration, with officials arguing they help lift people out of poverty, but they have faced setbacks in the courts. 

More than 18,000 people lost coverage in Arkansas before a court blocked the work requirements earlier this year.