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Minnesota GOP legislators want Medicaid recipients to work

ST. PAUL—Republican Minnesota lawmakers want a law requiring able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work.

They said the bill they unveiled Monday, March 12, would not force disabled people or those who need to stay home to care for a dependent to give up Medicaid, known in Minnesota as Medical Assistance.

Rep. Kelly Fenton, R-Woodbury, said her bill would "lift Minnesotans out of poverty by encouraging them to get work." If they do not have jobs, they would be required to look for work or be enrolled in a job-training program.

Sen. Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, said he thinks Minnesotans support requiring the work "to make sure they have skin in the game."

Johnson said up to 125,000 Minnesotans could be affected by the measure.

Jobs are in good supply, Fenton said, since there are more job openings than job seekers.

Rep. Jennifer Schultz, D-Duluth, said most Medicaid recipients already are working. "This legislation goes directly against the original intent of Medicaid: to provide coverage for Americans who are low-income, have a disability or are otherwise vulnerable and could fall through the cracks. This bill won't lead to a single person getting better health care or finding economic security."

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.