Governor Asa Hutchinson is seeking a “work requirement” waiver in his continuation of Obamacare in Arkansas through Arkansas Works (previously called the Private Option). However, the waiver request that has been released still has no work “requirement” included. Instead it is a work “option”. The website to track people’s compliance with the work option will cost taxpayers $2.5 to $3 million.
Currently, there is a work “suggestion” for the able-bodied, working age adults who receive free health insurance from taxpayers under Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. This current work “suggestion” was a referral to the Department of Workforce Services. According to the governor’s speech before the special session in May, about 3% of people used the referrals.
Now, after hyping his waiver request as a “work requirement” during the special session, the details are now coming out. When you actually read the work requirements waiver request you will see quickly that few will actually have to work to keep receiving Obamacare in Arkansas (Arkansas Works). The so-called “work requirement” is broken down below.
You are exempt from any type of work “option” if:
- If you live in a home with a dependent child age 17 or younger.
- You receive unemployment benefits.
- You are pregnant.
- You are a full-time student.
- You care for an incapacitated person or a dependent child under six.
- You are over 50 years old.
Over half of current enrollees would be exempt from any work option.
- Work “Options”
If you are not in the majority of people that will receive an exemption, you still don’t have to get a job or work. You have “options”. The work “requirement” states you can choose “between some combination of” the options, as long as you reach 80 hours per month. Your options are:
- Look for a job (up to 40 hours per month)
- Participate in job search training (up to 40 hours per month)
- Participate in activities and programs through the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services
- Take a class on health insurance, using the health system, or healthy living (up to 20 hours per year)
- Participate in “on-the-job” training
- Participate in vocational training
- Enrollment in an educational program
- Actual employment or self-employment work.
So, because of the vast “options”, able-bodied, working age adults can work zero hours a month and continue to receive health insurance paid for by the taxpayers and further subsidized by hard-working Arkansans paying more in premiums.