Dem Rep. Espaillat: Medicaid Work Requirements in Debt Bill ‘Ludicrous’ — ‘We Need Immigrant Labor’ Due to Worker Shortage

On Wednesday’s broadcast of C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) stated that the Medicaid work requirements in the House Republican debt ceiling bill are “part of the past” and “somewhat ludicrous and I think a bit aggressive,” and also argued that “we need immigrant labor” because there’s a worker shortage.

Espaillat said, “I think that, fundamentally, health is a human right. Access to health care should be a human right, particularly in the greatest country in the world. And I think to tie that, to join that at the hip to a work requirement is a bit aggressive and I believe part of the past as we move forward to make health care more accessible, to cap insulin at $35 a month, to be able to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs, and to continue to rebound from the dramatic impact the pandemic had. I think it’s so ludicrous to tie access to public healthcare insurance, Medicaid, to a work [requirement] is somewhat ludicrous and I think a bit aggressive, particularly for folks that may be facing health challenges themselves.”

Later, he stated, “I believe that it is precisely what we need to do is to bring in labor. If you go to a restaurant and your order doesn’t come in and it’s delayed, you hear from the business owner, the small business owners that they need workers. If you talk to people in the agricultural business that bring food to the table of the American people, what they say is that they need workers. As we prepare to get more manufacturing jobs because of the Biden administration’s push and approval of the CHIPS Act, what we’re going to need is more workers. Well, guess what? We have those workers. Let’s bring them in. Let’s strengthen our economy. No chapter in history where we’re seeing our economy bounce back has not occurred without the presence of immigrant labor. So, we need immigrant labor. I don’t think we’re overcrowded at all as a country. In fact, we’re underpopulated, we’re not growing as fast as other countries are across the world. So, we need workers. The labor unions are saying we need workers, the agricultural sector is saying we need workers, if we’re going to bring back manufacturing jobs to America, we’re going to need workers. Small businesses across America are complaining daily that they need workers. So, let’s bring them in, let’s have comprehensive immigration reform.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.