In other states, thousands of Americans previously dependent on government programs have transformed their lives and achieved independence thanks to work requirements. But Pennsylvania’s human services system still traps people in poverty by discouraging work—and voters want that to change.
Two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters support requiring healthy adult Medicaid recipients to pursue work in order to continue receiving government benefits, according to polling released today by the Commonwealth Foundation. The poll of 400 likely Pennsylvania voters, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, found majority support for work requirements across party lines and among all demographics.
“Voters recognize that promoting work can transform lives and expand resources for those who need them most,” commented Elizabeth Stelle, director of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation. “States like Kansas and Maine have proven work requirements in food stamps boost incomes and help individuals transition to productive careers. The success of work requirements in other programs led the federal Department of Health and Human Services to approve a landmark Medicaid work requirement for healthy Kentuckians last week.”
“Pennsylvania lawmakers already recognize the popularity of this reform,” Stelle continued. “HB 59, vetoed by the governor last fall, directed state officials to pursue a work search requirement for healthy adults with Medicaid coverage. Likewise, state House members recently promoted HB 1659 to restore work requirements in food stamps.”
Work requirements spurred half of those leaving the SNAP (food stamps) programs in Kansas and Maine to more than double their incomes, according to a recent study by the Commonwealth Foundation. If Pennsylvania adopted similar reforms in its food stamps program, the results would be transformative: as many as 100,000 people would rejoin the workforce and wages would grow by $175 to $210 million, according to estimates.
“We must not let people languish in a broken system because we lack the political will to fix it,” Stelle said. “Lawmakers and the governor must recognize that promoting work is key to ending generational poverty and preserving resources for those who need them most.”
Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact John Bouder 717-461-7978 or email@example.com to schedule an interview.
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