HARRISBURG –Senator David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks) expressed his dismay over Governor Tom Wolf’s recent veto of bipartisan legislation that would have established basic work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.
“We had a real opportunity to help control climbing costs while ensuring that funds are reserved for those who truly need it, but the governor has decided to stick with the status quo” Argall said. “Right now, in Schuylkill and Berks Counties, with record-low unemployment, and in much of the rest of Pennsylvania, many employers tell me they are seeking out new employees for good-paying jobs. How can we have good jobs with vacancies, while at the same time we have able-bodied workers without jobs? The governor has vetoed a bill which sought to break that cycle.”
House Bill 2138 would have required able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work at least 20 hours a week or complete job training and educational tasks. Those exempted from this legislation included pregnant mothers, high school students, individuals over the age of 65, those receiving disability benefits and other groups who could not reasonably perform any work duties.
During state budget negotiations earlier this year, the Department of Human Services acknowledged that more than half or 486,000 of 942,000 non-disabled Pennsylvania adults on Medicaid are not working. In the last 10 years, Medicaid expenses have increased over 35 percent while overall state spending has increased 8 percent.
“This should be a bipartisan effort just like the federal welfare reform of the 1990s” Argall continued. “We need stronger reforms if we ever want to break the cycle of poverty and control our spending. The reform measure the governor vetoed would protect the integrity of these programs and the data shows that work requirements do in fact work based on what we’ve seen in other states.”
Contact: Joshua J. Paul (Argall)