Survey from Dallas Firm Says Physicians Favor Work Requirements for Medicaid Beneficiaries

About 57 percent of physicians take a “very favorable” view of new federal work requirements for Medicaid benefits that call for able-bodied beneficiaries to be employed or engaged in job searches or job training, according to a survey from Dallas-based physician search firm Merritt Hawkins.

Another 18 percent say they’re “somewhat favorable” of the new rules, meaning three in four physicians overall are for the requirements. The results come from a one-question national survey by Merritt Hawkins, which received 667 responses.

About 10 states have proposed work requirements, and the requests have been approved in Indiana, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Kentucky’s rules stipulate that Medicaid applicants between the ages of 19 and 64 put in 80 hours a week dedicated to work, schooling, job training, or volunteering. Texas has not proposed adding work requirements.

Travis Singleton, executive vice president of Merritt Hawkins, says in a statement that the survey results show physicians want to “move away from the Medicaid status quo.”

“Many physicians have been frustrated for years because Medicaid often pays less than their costs of providing care,” Singleton says. “Physicians have to limit the number of Medicaid patients they treat for that reason and want to focus on those who need care the most.”

He adds: “It remains to be seen whether the policy can be carried out fairly and effectively. But in concept, it appears to have the endorsement of most physicians.”