If your organization would like to sign on to the following letter, please fill out the form below.
Dear Honorable Members of the Pennsylvania Senate:
Our organizations write to express our strong opposition to Pennsylvania House Bill 2138, which would force struggling families and individuals who rely on Medicaid to document that they are employed and, ultimately, run the risk of cutting off their access to the care they need to stay healthy.
HB 2138 would 1) harm Pennsylvania families and individuals by making it more difficult for them to qualify for and keep the coverage they need to stay healthy and 2) require extensive new bureaucracies in order to administer these requirements, wasting state and federal Medicaid dollars on unnecessary administrative burdens and new red tape.
Lawmakers need to remember the costly mistakes made the last time Pennsylvania attempted to impose work requirements through the Healthy PA plan: people faced long, unnecessary delays and lost access to care, while the state struggled with a huge administrative backlog that affected everyone covered by Medicaid, not just those subject to new requirements.
Research shows that work requirements for Medicaid will result in people losing coverage, in many cases simply because of the new layers of red tape and bureaucratic errors. Taking someone's health care away because of a paperwork error is too high a price to pay. A person whose hours are reduced or who received an incomplete pay stub, for example, could lose access to needed medical treatments if their benefits are cut. Even people who should be exempt from the requirements to work –because of a disability or serious mental illness, for example – may end up losing their coverage because they don’t have the right paperwork or don’t know how to file it.
Work requirements also don’t make financial sense. The state will be responsible for the massive costs associate with a program targeted at less than 5 percent of Pennsylvania's Medicaid population. We should be thinking wisely about how we spend our dollars. If the goal is to increase access to good jobs, additional funding for childcare and transportation -- common barriers for low-income individuals seeking employment – would need to be included. Simply imposing work requirements with no additional supports will do little to increase workforce participation.
Most Medicaid recipients who can work already work. Nationally, sixty percent of adults under 65 on Medicaid are already working, and 78 percent have at least one worker in the family. Nearly 80 percent of those not working are in school or cannot work due to illness, disability, or caring for others in their family.
For all of these reasons, we urge you to oppose HB2138. Should you have questions, please contact Patrick Keenan, Policy Director, Pennsylvania Health Access Network at (717) 322-5332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your consideration.