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Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy

House Republicans continue to push Medicaid work requirements amid talks over the federal debt ceiling.

In Ohio, one group said the work requirements create more bureaucracy for people to navigate and do little to remove barriers to employment.

Amy Rolling McGee, president of the Ohio Health Policy Institute, explained that Ohioans already face greater barriers to employment and wage growth than people in other states. She argued that making them worry about whether they would be able to afford treatment for chronic illnesses or mental health conditions would not help them join the workforce.

“We want to reduce those barriers,” McGee said. “Especially for people who are now on lower incomes, who may want to move to a higher-paying job, but now they’re facing a lot of challenges.”

The House Republican debt limit bill would require states to impose 80-hour-a-month work requirements for some Medicaid enrollees, claiming it would save the federal government more than $109 billion over the next decade.

More than 3 million Ohioans currently rely on Medicaid. McGee noted that many Ohioans who use Medicaid and are not in paid employment are full-time caregivers.

“They can take care of a relative who is sick or has a disability; they can take care of their children,” McGee noted. “They are potentially saving taxpayers money by providing this kind of assistance.”

According to a recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 1.7 million people nationwide would lose their Medicaid coverage if the changes become law.

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