Republican lawmakers in Michigan are considering a bill that would impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients, but the new requirements wouldn't apply to everyone or even every race.
The bill would exempt mostly-white counties from the new requirements while imposing them on mostly-black cities.
From The Huffington Post:
Under the bill, Medicaid recipients in 17 mostly white counties, all represented by Republican senators, would be exempt from the work requirements, according to an analysis by the Center for Michigan, a liberal think tank. But Medicaid recipients in the six municipalities with the highest unemployment rates, including Detroit and Flint, would have to work at least 29 hours a week to keep their health benefits. All six cities have black majorities or significant numbers of black residents.
The disparity stems from a provision in the bill that would lift the work requirements in counties with unemployment rates of over 8.5 percent — but not from cities with similar joblessness rates. Since most urban counties in Michigan contain both high-unemployment cities and their richer suburbs, Michigan’s biggest cities would be subject to the work requirements.
This appears to be unconstitutional even at face value and those who know the law better than I do have also said as much.
The bill's sponsor, state Senator Mike Shirkey (R), says the idea for exempting mostly-white counties was given to him by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. In response, a Chamber lobbyist told the Huffington Post that they were "just trying to be helpful" and it was "just a simple suggestion," but there's nothing simple about this.
Someone went out of their way to craft a proposal that would only apply black people. That's not a "simple" suggestion. It's very deliberate.