Six of seven Republicans on an Iowa Senate committee have endorsed a plan to require more of the Iowans getting health care benefits through Medicaid to work or volunteer in their community.

“Able-bodied Iowans should work if they’re receiving public benefits,” Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig, said during an interview with Radio Iowa.

The bill does have exceptions. The parents of young children and disabled Iowans would not be required to fulfill the requirement, but other adults between the ages of 18 and 64 would have to show state officials they’re working 20 hours a week. Schultz said his constituents want the state’s welfare programs to promote the Iowa work ethic.

“They want to see people work, if they can, and they also support that we are a well-off enough state and country that we can take care of the people who can’t take care of themselves,” Schultz told Radio Iowa, “so it’s not mean-spirited what I’m hearing back home, but they are very frustrated when they know of neighbors who could get a job, but are getting public assistance benefits and kind of mocking the system.”

Lana Shope of the Iowa Community Action Association said nearly 80 percent of the working-age adults enrolled in Medicaid already have a job, but many have inconsistent work schedules.

“They might be working 20 hours this week, but next week they’re only going to get 10, which is going to make them out of compliance which then jeopardizes their health care coverage through Medicaid,” she told Radio Iowa, “not only for them, but for their children.”

The bill is now eligible for debate in the full Senate.