Fifty-three percent of non-disabled working age Medicaid recipients worked an average of zero hours per month while receiving benefits, according to a Thursday report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
The subset of recipients with the largest percentage of non-workers was adults aged 50-64 without children, according to the report. The subset with the smallest percentage of non-workers was working age recipients with a youngest child aged 1 to 5, with 49 percent of recipients reporting an average of zero work hours per month.
Of individuals receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits, 54 percent of non-disabled working age adults reported an average of zero hours of work per month while receiving benefits, according to the report.
For non-disabled working age adults receiving housing assistance, 45 percent reported an average of zero work hours per month when receiving benefits.
“The American work ethic, the motivation that drives Americans to work longer hours each week and more weeks each year than any of our economic peers, is a long-standing contributor to America’s success,” the White House Council of Economic Advisers report states, but “many non-disabled working-age adults do not regularly work, particularly those living in low-income households.” The labor force participation rate for the overall work force was 62.9 percent in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The study comes amidst an executive order from President Donald Trump in April directing federal agencies to “[strengthen] existing work requirements or work-capable people and [introduce] new work requirements when legally permissible” in federal safety-net programs.
The executive order also directs federal agencies to “reduce the size of the bureaucracy and streamline services to promote the effective use of resources” and “reduce wasteful spending.” This may especially come into play with possible reductions in Medicaid spending that come from work requirements. Medicaid, unlike may other safety-net programs, does not phase out as income rises; if someone qualifies for Medicaid, they qualify for it whether they have no income or the maximum income. (RELATED: The Federal Government Will Spend $685 Billion Subsidizing Health Care in 2018)
The federal government is expected to spend $280 billion on Medicaid in 2018, according to a May Congressional Budget Office report. That includes an additional $59 million dollars for recipients made eligible though Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansions.
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