U.S. Senator John Kennedy proposes a new federal health care law should require abled bodied adults without children to work in order to receive Medicaid.

That’s one of several amendments Kennedy filed as the debate continues over an effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

He says he doesn’t want to take Medicaid away from those who need it. He just wants fewer people to need it.

“The best way not to need Medicaid is to be able to afford your own insurance, and the best way to do that is have a job,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy says the current Senate Health Care bill imposes a 20 hour a week work requirement for abled bodied adults without dependents. But it leaves it up to each governor’s discretion. Kennedy wants to remove the option for the governors.

“I want to make it a requirement because if it’s optional in Louisiana, Governor Edwards will never do it. He refused to do it for food stamps, and he’ll refuse to do it for Medicaid,” Kennedy said.

The amendment does exempt people under age 19, those in addiction treatment programs, and young adults in school or work training programs. Kennedy says he wants everyone to know the dignity of work, which is why he’s pushing for this nationwide requirement. He says this is about helping people transition off of welfare programs.

“Our social programs in American were meant to be bridges, not parking lots. For too many people they’ve become parking lots, and the best way to help folks help themselves is encourage them to get a job,” Kennedy said.

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