New S.C. initiative requires certain Medicaid recipients to work 80 hours per month

New S.C. initiative requires certain Medicaid recipients to work 80 hours per month
South Carolina has been given permission from the federal government to require some Medicaid recipients to work to maintain their health insurance. (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF/AP) - South Carolina has been given permission from the federal government to require some Medicaid recipients to work to maintain their health insurance.

Gov. Henry McMaster on Thursday announced able-bodied Medicaid recipients would have to work, volunteer or take job training classes for 80 hours a month to stay in the program.

The announcement has had mixed reviews from organizations in Horry County.

Susan Canterbury, the director at the Family Outreach of Horry County, said the new Medicaid requirements make it harder for some of the people they assist to receive life-saving medical care.

“Most of the adults that would be required to work are poor mothers. They won’t be able to find childcare to meet the requirements,” Canterbury said. “I see it all the time, they’re balancing having to take care of this child, but I can’t afford the daycare, so now she is going to lose her healthcare and not be able to take care of herself when she gets sick."

But Elaine Gore with the Horry County Council on Aging sees a unique opportunity in the state’s new initiative.

“If they’re able and qualified to work, I would love to be able to tap into some of that workforce. I can see where our seniors would help us and volunteer, their lives become better when they meet new friends, new activities. It’s just a better way to live,” Gore said.

South Carolina is the 10th state granted a waiver, although judges have stopped the requirement in three other states. South Carolina has about one million people on the federal health care program, but about 80% of them are disabled, children or senior citizens who are exempt from the requirements.

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