Against HF 3722 – MA work requirements

WRC testimony in the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, March 28, against the bill that would impose work requirements in Medical Assistance (HF 3722). Close to 40 other groups and individuals also testified against this bill that night.

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We are opposed to House File 3722, mostly because, obviously, it would make it so people don’t get the health care they need. But also, it will wind up taking money that could go to health care and putting it, instead, towards bureaucracy.

We like to compare it to the federal TANF fund for welfare. Less than 20% of the federal money, which funds the MN family investment plan, actually goes directly to families. The rest goes to the bureaucracy and policing. Meanwhile, our families live in extreme poverty, with no grant increase since 1986 (more than 30 years ago).

On a practical level, this bill has problems, which many have testified to, like when you are in poor health, it is hard to work. When you are ill, you are more likely to lose a job, or not get the hours that this bill requires. Furthermore, most people have worked all their lives, and have been paying taxes for the basic safety net that MA was supposed to provide.

Also putting up more barriers to signing up for help with our medical bills will just make people say “screw it,” and not apply for help, or to stop the process of signing up, once they hear of the possible humiliations in store.

Then, we wait until there is an acute medical need…and it’s off to the emergency room. But that ER bill goes unpaid. It goes to collections. The interest adds up. Our credit ratings get more and more shot. Which makes it harder to get a job, harder to get housing, and harder to get…insurance. This wrecks a person’s economic life now, as well as their health. This puts more strain on our community, and on the state as a whole. We talking about the social services budgets, the budget for corrections, homeless shelters, emergency medical services, and the like. But, don’t forget, besides, these long-term costs, (and we wrote this before we say tonight’s fiscal note) there is still the immediate cost of setting up and maintain the bureaucracy to enforce this in the first place.

House File 3722, and others like it, are billionaires’ dreams. It is the work of those who truly don’t care if we, the people, get the health care we need to in order to live. We are not shocked by this. We have no illusions that the perpetrators of monstrous schemes like this are simply clueless people who are “ignorant” of the effects that this bill would have. They know very well what they are doing, and it seems they will do anything to snarf up more of the budget in order to give tax breaks to the corporations and the rich, by hacking away at this basic safety net.

In conclusion, we are against the deadly lengths that some legislators – and a president – will go to under the lie of “saving money.” It is disturbing to see how far some will go to get in the good graces of a billionaire buffoon. House File 3722 won’t save the state money.

Vote no on House File 3722.

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