BREAKING NEWS: Kentucky on July 2 eliminated vision and dental benefits from its Medicaid program in response to a judge’s striking down of its work requirement.

Amid the heightened tensions in the nation’s capital over filling a vacant Supreme Court seat, a federal judge has struck down Kentucky’s Medicaid requirement that the able-bodied must work, perform public service, or undertake job training to qualify for the medical services — an issue that could easily land before a reconfigured high court next year.

judge-blocks-cms-work-requirement-for-medicaidThree other states are eyeing a similar requirement, which the Trump administration green-lighted earlier this year. Meanwhile, the Kentucky governor, Republican Matt Bevin, says he will end the program if the work requirement is voided.

The state’s top health official, Adam Meier, sounded less drastic, saying that if the new rule could not be quickly implemented, “we will have no choice but to make significant benefit reductions.”

Judge James E. Boasberg of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, an Obama appointee, ruled that the Trump administration’s approval of the plan had been “arbitrary and capricious” since it didn’t take into account whether the requirement would “help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid.”

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which originally authorized the work requirement, said she would consult with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to “chart a path forward,” according to the New York Times.