The Corner


Arkansas Medicaid Work Requirements Under Attack

The Left never stops working to defeat work requirements for welfare recipients. Their latest target is Arkansas, where a lawsuit was recently filed to halt implementation of the state’s recently approved work requirements for Medicaid recipients.

As usual, the Left misrepresents what conservatives want to do. According to them, the law makes people actually work for at least 80 hours each month or lose their health insurance. If the law actually did that, the Left would have a point. People can’t always find jobs, and sometimes the hourly jobs they hold just don’t require them to do that much in slow times. But of course that’s not what the law actually requires.

This post summarizes it nicely. Arkansas simply requires adults between 30 and 49 with no disability and no dependent children at home to try to find work for 80 hours a month. Medicaid recipients in these categories can satisfy their burden by searching for work, getting trained for work, or volunteering in their community. Anyone who values their insurance should be able to easily meet these goals.

Advocates of work-effort requirements want to ensure that people who receive our help give something back. Most current Arkansas Medicaid recipients are doing that; less than 15 percent are at risk of losing their benefits, and that number will surely go down as people become used to the new law’s reporting process. Conservatives throughout the country should keep an eye on this and lend a hand to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s effort to make welfare work for all, recipient and community alike.

Henry Olsen — Mr. Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an editor at, and the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.

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