Rep. Perillo looks to improve medicaid enrollees’ health and wellbeing

State Rep. Jason Perillo (R-113th) said on Monday that he is co-sponsoring legislation to help improve Medicaid enrollees’ health and well-being by incentivizing work and community engagement.

Senate Bill 270, An Act Concerning Work and Community Service Requirements for Recipients of Certain Public Assistance Programs, will require the Department of Social Services to apply for a waiver to impose work and volunteer participation requirements on able-bodied adults who receive Medicaid, similar to what is required in our TANF and SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) programs. The bill also reasonably excludes from the work requirements seniors, children, disabled individuals, child care takers, and students.

“We need to take steps to reform Connecticut’s Medicaid program,” said Rep. Jason Perillo. “Our current Medicaid program doesn’t encourage able-bodied adults to find work. I believe those that need our help the most should receive assistance, but letting adults who are able to work receive benefits is a strain on the program.”

Rep. Perillo added, “The proposal is consistent with the guidance letter that was issued on January 11, 2018 by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to all state Medicaid Directors informing them of this opportunity through state tailored demonstration projects.”

CMS highlighted in its guidance letter some studies that documented the benefits of work engagement. Studies show that:

  • Higher earnings are positively correlated with longer lifespan
  • Unemployment is harmful to health, including higher mortality; poorer general health; poorer mental health; and higher medical consultation and hospital admission rates; and
  • Employment is beneficial for health, particularly for depression and general mental health

“Connecticut already recognizes the importance of work,” said Rep. Perillo. “We offer MED-Connect, which provides Medicaid coverage for disabled adults with work income up to $75,000 per year; work training and job placement services for inmates; and the Department of Labor provides workforce development programs that help prepare and match skills to jobs for our unemployed population. Our state has invested in programs promoting work because it recognizes that it is beneficial not to just the individual but society as a whole. It should be no different for those receiving Medicaid.”

SB 270 will have a public hearing before the legislature’s Human Services Committee on Thursday, March 15. Rep. Perillo encourages residents to submit testimony on this legislation to [email protected] and to copy him on the email.

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