The sponsor of proposed Medicaid work requirements is dropping a provision that would have exempted recipients who live in Michigan counties with higher jobless rates, saying Gov. Rick Snyder's administration worries it would be an "administrative nightmare."
Opponents of the legislation have said the provision would disproportionately hurt African-Americans because they live in cities with higher unemployment but counties with lower unemployment, while white Medicaid recipients in rural counties with higher jobless rates would not have to comply with the workforce engagement requirements.
State Senator Mike Shirkey told The Associated Press Monday that allegations of racism are "ridiculous," but the provision is being pulled because it would be too difficult to administer. Instead, negotiators are focusing on a broader "grace period" exemption for people struggling to find work or facing other temporary obstacles.