Paying For Medicaid Through Community Service: Will It Work?

UPDATE: As this bill continues to move along, it is looking as though the community service hours would be limited to unemployed residents, 19-64, who aren’t disabled.

The Utah House of Representatives passed a bill today that creates a pilot program requiring less than 100 people to perform community service in return for their Medicaid benefits.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Ronda Menlove, feels the bill is a way to explore allowing more people into the Medicaid program as it expands due to federal health care reform.  The community service could be done in schools or other areas where help is needed and budgets have been cut.

According to newly elected Holly Richardson,

“I am hopeful that as we structure the program we can see if people are already working that it’s not an undue burden.  I don’t expect that were asking people to contribute 40 hours a week.”

This is some out of the box thinking, with  thoughts coming in from both sides of the issue.

  • Will this proposal take into consideration the very sick or the elderly?   Can you imagine your 85 year old Grandmother out there volunteering?
  • Should parents who have adopted kids out of the system and receive Medicaid benefits also have to perform community service.  Aren’t these parents already providing a service to the state by bringing drug addicted kids into their homes?
  • What about the vast amount of fraud and up-billing found with the Medicaid system.   Shouldn’t this be addressed before we send people out to pull weeds for the state?
  • Hello?  First you want to cut respite hours and now you want us to go and do community service?  Who’s going to keep my kid alive while I’m scrubbing the toilets on Capitol Hill?

Should those of us who have kids on a Waiver beg to be a part of the first 100 families to be the guinea pigs?


There were some that wanted an additional SEVENTY PERCENT on top of the already proposed  cuts to the Social Service budget.

Reed and I have been talking about this a lot.  Me?  If it keeps Parker connected to his vent, I’ll do whatever it takes.  The thing is, having a medically fragile kid means that life is never routine. Hospital stays are always sneaking up and catching a Mama by surprise.

Reed and I both wonder if this bill might encourage those calling for an extra 70% cut in the social services budget to turn their sights elsewhere.

In talking to Representative Richardson,  allowing extended family and friends to help with the community service requirements seemed possible.

What about you?

How do you feel about providing community service for the Medicaid your loved one receives?

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