But it isn’t.
This bill is now being considered in the Michigan House and has been the target of disdain. Why? It intentionally harms the poor and those on disability. It also burdens already struggling families with senseless red tape. It is believed that over 100,000 people may lose their health benefits if it passes.
There is also a flaw in the bill which means that may come in front of a judge: It’s biased and racially discriminatory.
Some legislators supporting the work requirements come from rural parts of the state that have high unemployment. A great majority of those districts are primarily white. To cater to their constituents, these legislators have included a safety clause in the bill.
They created an exemption that if you live in a county with a high unemployment rate (over 8%). You do not have to meet the work requirements.
That clause is simply not equitable. A New York Times OpEd article states: “The racial consequences are unmistakable”. It goes on to say that, “Detroit and Flint, which make up approximately 40% of the state’s African American population are not exempt.”
The racial divide is simple to see.
- Residents in predominantly white rural counties with high unemployment are exempt from the work requirements.
- Residents in predominantly black cities with high unemployment are not.
This chart from the Washington Post article clearly shows who would be exempt:
We have a responsibility as citizens to do what is necessary to make sure that this bill in its current state does not pass for anyone, especially in protection of the residents that have been methodically marginalized by its scope.
Join me in making sure your lawmakers know that Bill 897 needs serious revision and any requirements attached to health care coverage need to be fair, equitable and reasonable!