Wyoming lawmakers are considering a bill that would add a work requirement to those who receive Medicaid.
The bill by Senator Larry Hicks would require either 20 hours of work, volunteer hours, education, work training or a combination in order for someone to qualify for Medicaid health benefits.
The requirement does not apply to those 18 and under, people over 65, or those who cannot work for certified medical reasons. Wyoming would have to get a waiver from the federal government before the law could take effect. The bill received unanimous support from the all-Republican Senate Labor and Health Committee.
Kemmerer Senator Fred Baldwin said it would likely apply to less than half of the people who get Medicaid, but he thinks it will help improve someone's quality of life.
"The exemptions are such that it rules out a lot of people. But I think it'll be worthwhile if we move some people up in their education and work experience and gain some quality of life…it'll be worthwhile"
Committee Chairman Charles Scott said work requirements have worked in Wyoming and that the Department of Family Services has been good at finding people jobs.
Opponents expressed concern that some people may be penalized if they have difficulty finding work or lose their job. The bill moves to the Senate floor for further debate.