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Meeks: Work Requirements for Able-Bodied Medicaid Recipients an Example of ‘Reverse Robin Hood’

• May 22, 2017 5:04 pm

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Rep. Gregory Meeks (D., N.Y.) on Monday characterized work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients  as "the principle of reverse Robin Hood," arguing that such a policy would help the wealthiest Americans "at the expense" of those less well off.

Meeks was speaking with MSNBC host Ali Velshi, who mentioned that many conservatives support work requirements for Medicaid recipients capable of working, partly as a matter of principle.

Many conservatives believe such requirements can deter others from abusing social welfare systems and encourage those on programs like Medicaid to find new or better jobs so they will no longer need the same level of welfare payments. Some proponents also argue work requirements would give a greater feeling of self-worth to many welfare recipients.

"It is a conservative talking point here, the idea of putting in work requirements for certain parts of Medicaid, for able-bodied recipients or other forms of social welfare," Velshi said. "This is, it is a principle matter, not just an economic matter at this point."

Meeks suggested the policy proposal is part of a broader plan to exploit poorer Americans to benefit the rich.

"Well, what you see the principle that Donald Trump is working on is the principle of reverse Robin Hood, because when you look at the tax breaks that he's giving in this proposed budget, it's all to his cronies, all to the top one percent," Meeks said. "Everything that you're looking at there is at the expense of those who need it most."

"So yes, you're right, it's the principle, the principle of taking away from the poor to give to the rich," Meeks added.