People are free-riding on Medicaid.
The White House’s Kellyanne Conway is among those who have promoted this myth, telling Fox News this past week that Medicaid has expanded beyond the truly needy. “If you’re able-bodied and you would like to go and find employment and have employer-sponsored benefits, then you should be able to do that” and not rely on Medicaid, she said.
Historically, Medicaid has not required recipients to work, but the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have proposed a provision to encourage states to link benefits to work. “We believe it’s important for folks to have a job, that they contribute not just to society but they contribute to their own well-being,” Health Secretary Tom Price said in March.
These requirements, however, would not change much. Most Medicaid recipients who can work, do. Almost two-thirds have fulltime or part-time jobs, and more than threequarters come from families where someone has a job. (These jobs, though, tend to be in low-paying sectors, such as agriculture and food service, where employer-sponsored health insurance is generally not an option.)
Moreover, Medicaid is not a program that largely covers people who can “go and find employment.” Only 30 percent of enrollees are able-bodied adults, constituting 20 percent of spending. Children make up nearly half of enrollees (44 percent), while the aged and disabled account for more than half of spending (60 percent).