To the Editor: Gov. Chris Sununu has strongly supported a work requirement of able-bodied recipients on New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion program. Apparently some, including Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, see this requirement as punitive. However, that viewpoint fails to take into account the bigger picture. Work requirements push Medicaid recipients to become self-supporting, engaged, and meaningful participants in their communities.
The goal for so-called “entitlement programs” should not be to enable long-term, able-bodied unemployment. Rather, it should be considered a safety net for those temporarily struggling. This is a key point that Sen. Feltes misses.
In pursuing and implementing a work requirement, Medicaid recipients know what is expected of them and may reach out in ways they hadn’t previously considered. Valuable contacts are made within the community, whether through schooling, volunteering, or part-time employment, under the work requirement. The experience and contacts gleaned from this engagement can lead to full-time employment — bringing the ultimate goal of self-sufficiency within reach.
And yet none of this takes into account the intangible benefits of workforce participation: better well-being and a sense of pride by supporting themselves or their families.
In many ways, the work requirement codifies, with specificity, a pathway out of difficult financial circumstances, and we should all be rooting for that. Thank you, Gov. Sununu.