Medicine

Medicaid to work programs struck down

Medicaid to work programs struck down

Instead, he wrote that HHS approval of the Arkansas requirement was "arbitrary and capricious because it did not address ...whether and how the project would implicate the "core" objective of Medicaid: the provision of medical coverage to the needy". 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.

The decision could have repercussions nationally. Requests from seven others are pending.

Still, health experts say it's likely the decision won't stop the administration or conservative states from moving forward.

But at a court hearing earlier this month, the judge foreshadowed his decision, telling attorneys that neither the affordability of Medicaid's expansion nor incentives to get jobs were at the core of the insurance program's goal.

"Although a setback to our implementation schedule, we believe that we have an excellent record for appeal and are now considering next steps".

Arkansas' Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he is "disappointed" by the ruling and will issue further comment Thursday morning. Approximately 18,000 people were cut off coverage between September and December for failing to comply for three months with requirements to work, train or volunteer for 80 hours per month - or for failing to report they met the rules. "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". They mean that low-income people in Kentucky and Arkansas will maintain their health insurance coverage - coverage that enables them to live, work, and participate as fully as they can in their communities. Maine's new Democratic governor terminated that state's work requirement waiver. Bevin, a Republican, has threatened to end Kentucky's Medicaid expansion covering more than 400,000 people if work requirements are ultimately struck down.

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 a year ago.

The Trump administration isn't giving up, said the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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"The effect of Judge Boasberg's order is that the work and community engagement requirements can not be enforced, and Arkansas must provide three months of retroactive coverage instead of the one month allowed under the Arkansas Works approval". "The Department of Health and Human Services is very committed to work requirements under Medicaid", she said. "Then there will be more funding available for those who truly need the program and less pressure on state budgets". The plaintiffs are Kentucky residents who are receiving Medicaid.

Previously the program mainly covered children, parents and the disabled.

The twinned opinions, in a pair of states that have been national leaders in the move towards Medicaid work requirements, cast doubt on the Trump administration's approvals of efforts to re-envision the public insurance program.

"The judge illogically concluded that Medicaid is all about paying for healthcare for as many people as possible without regard to whether this coverage actually makes people healthier".

The rulings came nine months after Boasberg, an appointee of President Barack Obama, first signaled his disapproval of the way President Donald Trump's health aides were handling the issue. It sort of went with their idea that people shouldn't really be getting government benefits if they can work. Beneficiaries there won't have to begin reporting hours worked until July, and next January is the earliest that any recipient could have coverage suspended for not complying. Advocates for the poor said the state's website was confusing to navigate, particularly for people with limited computer skills.

He used similar language in his ruling on Kentucky.

Kentucky's Cabinet for Health and Family Services blasted Judge Boasberg's decision.