Trump’s sneak attack on the poor

Do you have a lazy cousin you just can’t stand? Always leeching off other people or working some kind of scam, no visible source of income, thinks he can just take advantage of the system while everybody else has to work for a living? Does he really drive you nuts?

Well the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress couldn’t be happier about how mad your cousin makes you. They want to nurture that resentment and turn it into public policy, so they can dismantle our system of social supports.

It won’t be easy, particularly if they try a frontal assault. That’s what they found out when they tried to eviscerate Medicaid as part of repealing the Affordable Care Act. They figured folks wouldn’t mind — after all, Medicaid is a program for poor people. So they were completely blindsided by the backlash to their plan. It turned out that Americans love Medicaid — according to Kaiser Family Foundation polls, 74 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the program, and 87 percent want its funding increased or kept the same.

And because the program was expanded as part of the ACA, it isn’t just for poor people anymore; as of last fall over 74 million Americans were on Medicaid or CHIP (the affiliated program for low-income children).

So Republicans want to find less direct ways to chip away at Medicaid, which is why the Trump administration just announced that they’ll allow states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. Multiple Republican-run states are eager to take advantage of the change, and 10 states have already applied. This move isn’t practically necessary or even justified; the real purpose is to get people associating Medicaid with that lazy cousin of yours.

The truth is that America isn’t full of people who think they don’t have to work once they get that sweet health coverage. According to KFF, among adults on Medicaid, “nearly 8 in 10 live in working families, and a majority are working themselves.” The problem for many is that their employers don’t offer health coverage and they don’t make enough to afford it on their their own. “Among the adult Medicaid enrollees who were not working, most report major impediments to their ability to work including illness or disability or care-giving responsibilities.”

So a work requirement isn’t a solution to a real problem, it’s a way of putting bureaucratic hurdles …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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