Get Medicaid money in Alabama? Get a job

Senator Arthur Orr wants able-bodied Medicaid recipients to do their fair share

Posted: Jan 23, 2018 6:10 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2018 7:11 PM

The Trump administration has opened the door for states to require Medicaid recipients to work.


State Senator Arthur Orr wants Alabama to follow the President's lead.


Alabama State Senator Arthur Orr

His bill would require most able-bodied people to work if they receive Medicaid money.

Senator Orr makes it clear: there are exceptions.

"These aren't people over the age of 65," the Senator told WAAY 31 News. "These aren't people that are disabled. These certainly aren't children. And there are a lot of exceptions. If you are caring for an elderly parent of for a disabled child, you wouldn't have to work."

Alabama has about 75-thousand people on Medicaid.

"There are people quite frankly that ought to be out in the workforce when we have 3.5% unemployment," Orr told us. "That's something the bill would require -- some minimal work requirements."

Senator Orr explained other exceptions to his proposed Medicaid work requirement.

"You could be in a job training program," he said. "Or you could be in a drug or alcohol substance abuse program."

Senator Orr tells WAAY 31 people need to do their fair share.

"You cannot sit at home and expect the taxpayers just to pick up the tab for healthcare costs because everyone else that's out there working is certainly paying a part of their healthcare coverage."

Orr says the savings could be sizable, up to $10 million. And that's not the only benefit.

"The moral value of having a job and having gainful employment is an intangible benefit that I think brings every person in the workforce that's able to work."

Senator Orr is working to pass his bill during the current legislative session. It will be in committee this week.

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