NC Budget and Tax Center

Work requirements for access to healthcare ignore a simple truth about modern employment

Proposals to require people to report on work hours in order to access Medicaid (something that’s being considered this session at the North Carolina General Assembly both for exiting program participants and as a part of GOP proposals to close the coverage gap) fly in the face of some very basic labor market realities of the 21st Century.

As we noted in our recent report, research has consistently showed that the vast majority of those receiving Medicaid who can work are working. Those who have jobs are often working in low-wage, part-time jobs with unpredictable schedules that would make it difficult to report work hours in compliance with requirements and keep their health care.

A new report released by the Urban Institute this week provides additional findings using newly available survey data about the unique challenges facing workers and their risk of transitioning in and out of compliance with work requirements week to week for reasons beyond their control.

The researchers find:

“Our survey indicates that most nondisabled adults whose families participated in safety net programs in the past year were not on the sidelines but in the game, with nearly three in five working at the time of the survey, including about half working for an employer. However, work schedules for these adults are often unstable and unpredictable:

  • One in five works a rotating, split, or irregular shift.
  • Over half report fluctuations in weekly work schedules of 10 hours or more during the past month.
  • More than a third (39.1 percent) usually know their schedule one week or less in advance.
  • More than half (56.0 percent) have little to no input on when their workdays begin and end.”

The reality of unpredictable work schedules and hours and the very nature of work arrangements in today’s labor market make it impossible to design work requirements to help people stay employed and healthy.

Check Also

First look at NC’s potential revenue losses from pandemic points to an obvious policy course

The consensus revenue forecast released by the General ...

State and Federal COVID-19 policy updates

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

State and local officials have been forced to improvise in an effort to feed hundreds of thousands o [...]

On any given week prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people went in and out of the Wake Co [...]

Controversial conservative cites family duties, but evidence indicates other board members forced hi [...]

Mysterious cases of rare cancers have baffled North Carolina health officials, but incomplete data, [...]

The post Hark the sound of childhood hunger appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

We’ve known for a long time that former President Barack Obama lives rent-free inside Donald Trump’s [...]

Ask a public education advocate when our society began doubting and undervaluing public schools and [...]

Mindy Bergeron-Lawrence seemed to be struggling with her emotions at times as she spoke into the com [...]