Medicaid Work Requirements Attack the Working Poor


Call it what it is, class war.  Fresh from imposing a massively regressive tax “reform” masquerading as a boon to America’s middle class, a heady Trumpian political rightwing is ready for its next assault on citizen well-being – new federal rules (strictly speaking, waivers) allowing states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

Critics correctly point out that the maneuver amounts to a solution in search of a problem, considering that the overwhelming majority of able-bodied adult Medicaid recipients are already working in low-paid, benefit-free jobs.  Right as it is, such reality-based criticism misses the point.  The aim is not to improve anything, and certainly not the health of the poor.  It is, rather, to lay another brick in the wall between rich and poor, haves and have-nots, winners and losers; it is to take one more step down the road to a new American feudalism.

If it seems we’re moving backward fast in this country, it’s because we are.  Back to oligarchy, back to monopolistic robber barons keeping an unrelenting boot heel on the backs of working people and poor, back to a 19th-century-flavored Gilded Age.  From this perspective, President Trump’s racist-infused talk about who should and should not get to immigrate to America is not just the vulgar raving of one bigoted and possibly unhinged world leader.  It’s a throwback to the eugenics movement that characterized the century before last – not coincidentally the last time inequality reached the level it is today.  (Factoid: Nazi race laws were inspired by American Jim Crow justice, and Hitler found his model for concentration camps in Native American reservations.  No wonder the Fuhrer thought the U.S.A. and the Third Reich could become bosom buddies.)