Context: This article provides a detailed picture of the mindset of Americans about Medicaid work requirements and the important roles that perception of deservingness and racial bias play in public attitudes.
Methods: The authors conducted a large original survey to investigate public attitudes toward work requirements. They analyzed the predictors of overall support for work requirements, correlates of who should be exempt from them, and attitudes toward work supports that make compliance with work requirements easier.
Findings: The authors found that public opinion is split relatively evenly when it comes to Medicaid work requirements in the abstract. When Americans are confronted with the complexities of the issue, important nuances emerge. The authors also found consistent evidence that support for work requirements is higher among conservatives, those who see Medicaid as a short-term program, and racially resentful non-Hispanic whites. They show that groups that have historically been framed as deserving see high levels of support for their exemption (e.g., the disabled and senior citizens). Finally, the authors found that Americans are supportive of policies that provide individuals with help when transitioning into the workforce.
Conclusions: Americans' views of Medicaid and the populations it serves are complex and continue to be influenced by perceptions of deservingness and race.