Sen. Marty Knollenberg
Sen. Marty Knollenberg

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday approved a workforce engagement plan that would require able-bodied adults receiving taxpayer-funded Medicaid to obtain employment, participate in job training or enroll in an educational program — or any combination thereof — for at least 29 hours per week.

“This is a good plan that will help Medicaid recipients to gain the necessary skills and opportunities to join the workforce,” said state Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy. “Michigan has experienced a remarkable economic turnaround with thousands of well-paying jobs available throughout the state. By encouraging able-bodied adults on Medicaid to seek and obtain employment, we’re not only giving them a hand up, but we are also ensuring that resources will be available for those who are truly in need of assistance.”

Knollenberg noted that Senate Bill 897 ­does provide certain exemptions. The bill would not apply to seniors, pregnant women, caretakers of children under age 6, people with disabilities or their caregivers, the medically frail, residents under age 21 who are in foster care, caretakers of incapacitated people, individuals seeking substance use disorder treatment, those receiving unemployment benefits, ex-prisoners released in the last six months, people with medical conditions that impact their ability to work, and full-time students who are emancipated or whose parents qualify for Medicaid. Temporary “good cause” exemptions also would be afforded.

“I firmly believe that programs like Medicaid are important safety nets, and the exemptions will make sure those in need will continue to be covered,” Knollenberg said. “But I also believe that those who are able to work, should work. There is inherent value in having a job, which leads to happier, healthier lifestyles and upward mobility that improves families and benefits our communities.”

SB 897 now advances to the House of Representatives for consideration.