USC Annenberg Features L.A. Care CEO's Op Ed on Medicaid Work Requirement

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism shared "Perspective: Push for Medicaid work requirements shows a lack of compassion for those most in need," by L.A. Care CEO John Baackes. In this opinion piece, he talks about the Trump administration's decision to allow states to compel people to work or prepare for jobs in order to receive Medicaid.

The idea has always been rooted in the notion that people are getting away with something — they’re freeloading. Proponents of a work requirement think it would flush these people out of the system. But the reality is that such a requirement is unnecessary. That’s because most people on Medicaid already work.

The real underlying issue is growing income inequality and the lack of decent paying jobs with benefits. That’s what has led 23 percent of the U.S. population to rely on Medicaid, a program intended for those living and working in poverty. 

A 2017 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that six in 10 non-disabled adults on Medicaid already work at least part time, but they work in jobs that do not provide health benefits. Most of those who weren’t working were either in school, dealing with an illness, or caring for a loved one. 

While California is not among the states considering this action, 10 states applied for the Medicaid work requirement waiver, with Indiana and Kentucky already receiving approval.

About L.A. Care Health Plan

L.A. Care Health Plan is a public entity and community-accountable health plan serving residents of Los Angeles County through a variety of health coverage programs including L.A. Care Covered™,  Medi-CalL.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan. L.A. Care is a leader in developing new programs through innovative partnerships designed to provide health coverage to vulnerable populations and to support the safety net. With more than 2 million members, L.A. Care is the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan.