Utah Toys With Idea of Mandating Volunteerism in Return for Medicaid

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November 19, 2011; Source: Salt Lake City Tribune | Hearings are being held in Utah on a proposal that would require some Medicaid recipients to volunteer in return for health coverage. The author of the proposal, Rep. Ronda Menlove ( R-Garland) says that the pilot program is meant to build a sense of community, not be a punishment for poverty. Among other things, the blueprint says, “A participant will feel more involved . . . The spirit of entitlement will be lessened; less of a handout and more of an earning.” Those targeted to participate are members of the Primary Care Network, otherwise known as PCN, which is a bare bones version of Medicaid. The proposal has sparked an outcry from those who say that it would demean their voluntary activity to have it mandated, and would put it on a par with the community service mandated by courts in lieu of jail. They may not be worried about it however since the alteration would need a waiver, which would not likely be approved before the PCN program is eliminated in the larger scheme of Health Care Reform.—Ruth McCambridge