State Representatives Debate on New Medicaid Requirements

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. State Representatives will debate implementing work requirements for Medicaid recipients Wednesday.

If passed, able-bodied adults would have to work, go to school, participate in job training, volunteer, or do a combination of those at least 20 hours per
week.

"The concept is to give people a nudge to move them up the economic scale to get out in the communities, find opportunities, and then get off government subsistence." Said Senator Larry Hicks of Albany, Carbon, and Sweetwater counties.

Opponents, however, say this bill is an attack on the poor which could lead to some unintended consequences.

"It eliminates preventative care. It causes those people who eventually do fall ill to seek care in an emergency room. And that cost is then passed onto the rest of us because people can't afford to pay those bills." Said Representative Charles Pelkey.

"Those people exercise their free choice not to avail themselves of those opportunities so it's not punitive when it is your choice to make a decision to exercise the opportunities under the provisions in the bill or not, and if you choose not to you re going to lose your subsidized health care." Said Hicks.

The bill does provide exceptions for pregnant women, parents with children under six, those with serious medical conditions or disabilities and, participants in drug or alcohol rehab programs.