Federal Judge Again Blocks Medicaid Work Requirements

A federal judge just struck a blow to the Trump administration’s cruel plot to gut Medicaid

Office of the Vice President

A United States District Court judge has once again rejected President Donald Trump's plan to require Medicaid recipients to meet certain work requirements in states including Arkansas and Kentucky, according to the Washington Post.

Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin have had their work requirements approved by the federal government, but they are not yet implemented. So he said that because so many people are losing insurance, especially in Arkansas, that that state would have to stop its Medicaid work requirement program right away.

Consumer groups sued the administration, arguing that mandating low-income people to work for benefits runs counter to Medicaid's objective of providing the poor with access to health care. He signed an executive order a year ago calling for new or strengthened work requirements for programs that include subsidized housing, food stamps and cash welfare benefits. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has been trying to implement the new rules since January 2018, when he first got permission from the Trump administration to implement them.

Judge James Boasberg, of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, concluded that in letting Kentucky go forward with its requirements, HHS had been "arbitrary and capricious" - the same criticism he leveled once before.

For a second time in nine months, the same federal judge has struck down the Trump administration's plan to force some Medicaid recipients to work to maintain benefits. In the Kentucky opinion, Boasberg states that the Azar made no finding that Kentucky's changes would promote fiscal sustainability to Medicaid, such as by achieving savings, even though budget contraints were among Kentucky's stated reasons for the requirements.

Boasberg's ruling holds that states can not use Section 1115 waivers in this manner. She has claimed that denying low-income people health coverage is actually good for them, insisting that "it is not compassionate to trap people on government programs or create greater dependency on public assistance".

"Cancer patients and survivors often become so sick from treatment and its long-term effects that they are unable or told not to work by their doctors". It's responsible for adding some 12 million people to the Medicaid rolls in the 37 states that accepted the expansion.

In both cases, the approvals did not address how the requests would align with Medicaid's core objective of providing Medicaid coverage to the needy, the judge said.

"I am disappointed in the decision handed down late this afternoon". When health issues flared up as a result, he missed several days at work, and then lost his job. Last June, Boasberg blocked them from taking effect.

KODJAK: Yeah, so the Affordable Care Act expanded who could receive Medicaid, and it offered states money. For the first several months a year ago, Arkansas allowed Medicaid recipients to report their work hours only online.

Several other Republican-controlled states are now seeking approval for similar work requirement programs. Most of those not working cite reasons such as poor health, caring for an elder or child, or going to school. "We believe, as have numerous past administrations, that states are the laboratories of democracy and we will vigorously support their innovative, state-driven efforts to develop and test reforms that will advance the objectives of the Medicaid program".

April 1 is a significant date in both states: Under the Arkansas Works rules, the clock starts over each January, when people removed from the program can reapply and a new three-month countdown begins.

He used similar language in his ruling on Kentucky.

Latest News