Wash Exam- Amid discussion of whether healthcare is a human right, it should be noted that no one ever has an absolute right to get it free from anyone else.
Yet with healthcare, as with food, the state often has a duty to provide it to those who, despite their best efforts, would be incapable of providing it for themselves.
This is why President Trump has the right idea this week with his administration’s new guidelines for Medicaid. The Department of Health and Human Services says it is inclined to let states impose work requirements for childless, able-bodied adults in the Medicaid program. Trump is right to approve the necessary waivers, and we hope more states will apply for them.
A work requirement makes plain that the welfare state is a helping hand for people in need, even long-term, but that it should never become a way out of a regular adult life for those who can and should support themselves but prefer not to.
For most Medicaid recipients, this won’t change anything. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that three in every five nonelderly Medicaid adults, both parents and the childless, already work anyway, and four in five are in families where someone works. The disabled comprise many of the remaining cases, and they won’t be affected either.
The number of childless, able-bodied adults on Medicaid who are not working is thus not a very large share of the 25 million nonelderly adults on Medicaid. But they are a large body numerically, and they should not be left free to burden the rest of us when they are capable of fending for themselves.