With Arkansas’s new rule requiring work for Medicaid benefits underway, timing is good for this extensive Vox report on the heavy research that has been done into past efforts to tie welfare benefits to getting a job. Bottom line: The supposed work incentives don’t work much and they make it harder for people to get out of poverty.

The new work rules are even worse.


But on top of this fraught system, Republicans have made proposals to impose new or stricter work requirements. They want to expand work requirements to older people who didn’t used to be covered, while also requiring more work hours and frequent check-ins.

This added bureaucracy could mean recipients might be subject to administrative errors and procedural deadlines, adding pressure to a already fragile situation.

In Arkansas, the rules are even tougher. People must check in by computer in a state with one of the worst computer access rates in the country. It’s almost as if it was designed to fail. (Or succeed at forcing people off Medicaid.)

Concluded one researcher:


“Too many disadvantaged individuals want to work but can’t find jobs for reasons that work requirements don’t solve.”

She found people can’t work because they don’t have the skills to be employable, don’t have the social connections to find job openings, or have personal challenges.