Corbett’s Medicaid work mandate may be illegal

corbettAs we’ve been noting here since the rumors began flying, Gov. Tom Corbett may be willing to expand Medicaid to more than 500,000 of the state’s poor under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but he wants to do so with many strings attached.

Perhaps the most controversial of those strings: a “work search requirement” the governor says would be required of those who receive the government-funded healthcare for the poor.

It seems disturbingly as though the Corbett administration didn’t do their homework before unveiling their Medicaid reform-then-expansion plan, called Healthy PA. When asked by Philly radio host Dom Giordano why the plan would require Medicaid recipients to search for work—even, seemingly, if they’re already employed—Corbett answered: “Why not?”

Well: “It’s unlawful to tie Medicaid eligibility to work requirements,” Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University told the Allentown Morning Call. “The federal government, not only do I think they will not grant that, they can’t.”

Utah proposed a similar requirement when looking to revamp its Medicaid program last year—only theirs would have forced those receiving Medicaid healthcare to perform eight hours of community service each month. The federal government rejected the proposal. This may have been something worth looking into before Corbett’s team put together its multi-page reports on Pennsylvania Medicaid reform. Then again, maybe not—we’re becoming increasingly suspicious that the governor is just plain trolling us.

Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso

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