Jaclyn Allen, Denver7
DENVER — For the first time, the Trump Administration said Thursday that it would allow states to require “able-bodied” adults on Medicaid to work, and while Colorado did not apply for the program, many are worried it could eventually open the door.
“I was in the final stages of getting my Ph.D. when I got in the accident,” said Reyna Ulibarri, a teacher and artist who received a traumatic brain injury from a hit-and-run accident on I-70 two years ago. “I just had a horrible headache, seeing flashing lights and things like that. I just kept thinking it would go away, and it didn’t go away.”
The injury left her unable to work, and while she applies for disability, she is reliant on Medicaid for treatment and believes the proposed work requirements would directly affect her.
“You need to be healthy in order to be able to work, and so it sort of putting a work requirement before providing somebody healthcare doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” said Adam Fox, with the non-partisan Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.
About 75 percent of people on Medicaid in Colorado do work, and the remaining people are mostly disabled or caregivers for children or relatives who would have to jump through new hoops with a work requirement to get the care they need.
“It is a complicated conversation to have. It is not as though there are millions of people sitting around doing nothing and simply collecting benefits,” said Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, a former healthcare executive. They may have part-time jobs. They may have low-wage jobs They may have jobs where their employer doesn’t offer health insurance.”
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