Same Judge Blocks Same Medicaid Work Requirement — Again

UPDATE: Arkansas has asked the Trump administration to appeal the judge’s ruling, and Indiana is proceeding nonstop to implement Medicaid work rules without regard to the rulings in Kentucky and Arkansas.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg has blocked the implementation of work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients in Kentucky and Arkansas. Nine months ago, the judge blocked Kentucky’s planned implementation, but Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, threatened to rescind Medicaid expansion in the state if the work requirement were not allowed.

cms-looks-to-sell-health-insurance-across-state-linesInstead, Kentucky applied for a second waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement the work rule, which was then granted, with the requirement set to commence this next Monday. However, in stepped Judge Boasberg to apply a second kibosh.

Boasberg ruled that the approval of work requirements by the Department of Health and Human Services “is arbitrary and capricious because it did not address … how the project would implicate the ‘core’ objective of Medicaid: the provision of medical coverage to the needy.”

In a statement, Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare &  Medicaid Services (CMS), suggested the rulings would not dissuade her efforts to approve work requirements in other states. The administration wants “to give states greater flexibility to help low income Americans rise out of poverty,” she said, and will “vigorously support their innovative, state-driven efforts to develop and test reforms that will advance the objectives of the Medicaid program.”

Eight states have been approved for the work requirement, and seven more state waivers are pending approval.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was disappointed by Wednesday’s ruling and would announce his response today.

NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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