Among the many proposed reforms to such Medicaid programs as AHCCCS is the requirement that people getting their health insurance via these programs do some sort of work. An AHCCCS recipient would need to have a job or be engaged in some other activity that is work-like, such as volunteering. Arizona is among the states that are seeking permission to add this work requirement.
Seems Like A Good Idea . . .
This seems at a glance like a good idea. Why shouldn't Arizona make people get a job if Arizona is going to pay for their healthcare? In many circumstances, there might be a kernel of truth in this position. But, as always, the devil is in the details. The work requirement would really hurt one group in particular: the disabled.
But It's Really A Trap
Consider the trap this would set for those persons applying for Social Security disability benefits. They cannot work, or they would be working. Once they can no longer work and apply for Social Security disability benefits, they face waits of up to three years for decisions on their applications. During those years of waiting, they need to get medical care for their disabling medical conditions. If Arizona and other states impose a work requirement to get AHCCCS, these people cannot get any medical care. In recent reforms, Social Security has demanded that Social Security
disability applicants provide even more medical evidence than ever.
So, while Social Security is insisting that Social Security disability applicants show ongoing medical treatment, such states as Arizona could make it impossible for such applicants to get medical treatment.
It's the classic Catch-22.
Speak Up Now Before It Is Too Late
If you think that insisting that people who cannot work get jobs in order to get the medical treatment they need is a bad idea, let your legislators know. If you stay silent and this work requirement goes into effect, you might discover one day soon you can't get the medical care you need, even care that is keeping you alive.