JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Some Alaska lawmakers want to require Medicaid recipients to work in order to receive their benefits.

Two bills introduced in the Legislature would impose work requirements, something one of the sponsors, Senate President Pete Kelly, says should be seen as a “privilege” and not a punishment.

The bills have been introduced amid concerns with growth of the Medicaid program and rising costs.

The bills would require someone to work at least 20 hours a week, take part in job training, volunteer or be involved in subsistence activities.

There are exemptions for children, the elderly or those who can’t work because of medical reasons.

Health Commissioner Valerie Davidson questioned how much would it cost to implement such a program and whether it would save any money.

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