SALT LAKE CITY -- Community service may become a way for some Medicaid recipients to pay for their services.
House Bill 211, sponsored by Rep. Ronda Rudd Menlove, R-Garland, was passed 56-14 Wednesday by the House. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
Menlove said the bill would allow for a pilot program and would include only Medicaid recipients who are unemployed and between the ages 19 and 64.
The pilot program would include fewer than 100 participants. Results of the pilot program would be evaluated before further implementation.
"The side benefit is, we will have volunteers in areas that are needed, like in schools and other areas where we have had serious budget cuts," Menlove said.
But Rep. David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, said requiring community service could deter people who need Medicaid from signing up.
Menlove said it shouldn't deter people from signing up because some of those who do receive Medicaid already have to pay a co-payment, and this would be in lieu of a co-payment.
Litvack asked if there are other public agencies that require community service from those who receive services.
Menlove said the court system allows defendants to perform community service in lieu of paying fines.
Litvack said he understands the intent behind the bill, but about 57 percent of those who use Medicaid do work. They do not have health insurance because either their employer does not offer it or it is too expensive.
"You're penalizing an individual or family for the failure of the health care system," Litvack said.
Rep. Holly Richardson, R-Pleasant Grove, spoke in favor of the bill, saying it offers an incentive for those on Medicaid to get off.