Arkansas Urges Appeal to Restore Medicaid Work Rules

Arkansas Urges Appeal to Restore Medicaid Work Rules

Arkansas Urges Appeal to Restore Medicaid Work Rules

Washington, D.C. District Court judge James Boasberg struck down work requirements in Kentucky and Arkansas, ruling that the waivers granted by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar were not valid because work requirements do not further the Medicaid Act's mission of improving public health. "The message to other states considering work requirements is clear - they are not compatible with the objectives of the Medicaid program".

Hutchinson said he wants the Legislature to maintain Arkansas' Medicaid expansion program, which covers 235,000 low-income residents. The Arkansas opinion lays out the strict requirements and the plight of plaintiffs who failed to meet them.

A federal judge scrapped Medicaid "community engagement" requirements in two states on Wednesday, declaring that mandating such activities runs counter to the objective of the program, according to theAssociated Press.

Six other states have had work requirement waivers approved by the administration and seven states have applications pending. It sort of went with their idea that people shouldn't really be getting government benefits if they can work. The Trump administration under the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services really invited states to add these work requirements. Advocacy groups in New Hampshire recently filed a similar legal challenge to their state's work requirement waiver, which also has been assigned to Judge Boasberg. Kentucky's plan has not taken effect, after a group of Medicaid enrollees sought and received an injunction to block it. HHS made another try at approving Kentucky's program in November 2018, but this ruling sends the commonwealth and regulators back to the drawing board.

Many health law specialists predict the issue will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.

CMS is still reviewing work requirement projects for a number of states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. He said they strike a balance between ensuring health coverage while creating a way for recipients to find a job.

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled to undo approval of Kentucky's Medicaid waiver.

The future is less certain in MI, where Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last month said she would ask the Republican-led Legislature to change newly enacted work or job-related requirements to qualify for Michigan's Medicaid expansion program. In other states like MI and OH, they were incorporated to win GOP support for continuing expansion programs.

"Arkansas might use the time while the program is paused to consider whether and how to better educate persons about the requirements and how to satisfy them", he wrote.

In Kentucky, expansion supporters fear Bevin will react to the ruling by either trying to end the expansion or by cutting benefits, which he did temporarily after Judge Boasberg first blocked the waiver previous year.

"Today's ruling is a positive step towards preserving access to health care for the millions of cancer patients, survivors and individuals at risk of developing the disease who rely on Medicaid for health care coverage", said Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in a press statement on Wednesday.

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service and editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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