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West Michigan Policy Forum teams up with the Mackinac Center to push for continued Medicaid work requirements

April 15, 2019

On Friday, the West Michigan Policy Forum posted a link (seen here on the right) to a Detroit News opinion piece, co-authored by a representative from the West Michigan Policy Forum and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

The opinion piece that appeared in the Detroit News was co-authored by former State Representative Jase Bolger and Lindsay Killen, a staffer at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. 

Bolger left political office a few years ago and formed the Tusker Strategies LLC group, which represents groups working on public policy changes in Michigan. According to the Tusker website, the West Michigan Policy Forum (WMPF) appears to be Bolger’s only client. In addition to representing the WMPF, Bolger also joined the board of the Great Lakes Education Project, the entity created by Betsy DeVos to undermine public education across the state. 

Bolger co-wrote the opinion piece with Lindsay Killen, who is the VP for strategic outreach and communications at the Mackinac Center and member of the Board of Policy Advisors at the Heartland Institute. The Heartland Institute is another far right think tank that is one of the leading think tanks that denies the existence of Climate Change. Killen also used to work for the Freedom Alliance, managing outreach to organizations for the Sean Hannity Freedom Concerts with Lt.Col. Oliver North.

Considering the reactionary positions and organizations that both Bolger and Killen represent, it is no surprise that they would be pushing for Michigan to maintain work requirements for those who receive Medicaid benefits. The Snyder administration pushed for the same Medicaid work requirements, we he signed a bill asking the federal government for permission to implement work and community engagement requirements for able-bodied adults enrolled in Healthy Michigan. If Governor Whitmer doesn’t reverse that decision, then the work requirements aspect of Medicaid would begin in 2020.

Bolger and Killen think that requiring those on Medicaid to work (if they are able to) is a good thing and they also believe that when people work, “it feeds the human spirit.” I wonder if Jase Bolger or Lindsay Killen has ever had a job that was physically demanding, with little pay and long hours? Not all work “feeds the human spirit.”

In addition, it is interesting that those who support this kind of policy position don’t require the same kind of conditions for corporations and businesses that receive massive subsidies, also known as corporate welfare. Public money subsidized businesses with nearly $30 million simply for the purpose of developing talent so that companies can compete at the global level.

Lastly, it should be noted that if we had a single payer health care policy in the US or a Medicaid for All plan, people would be better off and not have to adopt to more of the austerity measures that policy makers want to impose on them.

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