Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: email@example.com
In Utah, legislators are considering a new requirement for people receiving Medicaid benefits. H.B. 211 would authorize a pilot program in which 100 unemployed Medicaid recipients (ages 19 to 64) would provide community service in exchange for health care. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Ronda Menlove, told the Salt Lake Tribune in November that the program could be a way for unemployed recipients to get involved in the community or pick up a new skill that could lead to a job. The fiscal note for H.B. 211 says that having such volunteers could offset local governments' staffing or project costs. A federal waiver would be required to institute the program, and health officials would decide on eligbility and pilot guidelines. Critics of the bill claim that this potential pilot wouldn't solve problems, since more than half of Medicaid beneficiaries already work. The measure passed the House and currently is in the Senate.