In two closely watched cases, District Court Judge James Boasberg on Wednesday invalidated the approval of Kentucky and Arkansas' applications for a mandate to work for low-income people and referred the matter to the Department of Health & Human Services returned further review. Boasberg also discontinued the program started in June in Arkansas.
In both cases, the approvals did not address how the claims were in line with Medicaid's key objective of providing Medicaid-need for those in need. However, Boasberg also said that it was not impossible for the Agency to justify its authorizations, but had not yet done so.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which have approved work requests from nine states and are considering several others, were not deterred by the verdict.
"We will continue to defend our efforts to give states more flexibility to help low-income Americans out of poverty," said Seema Verma, the agency's administrator. "We believe, as do many governments of the past, that states are the laboratories of democracy, and we will vigorously support their innovative, state-led efforts to develop and test reforms that drive the objectives of the Medicaid program. "
Consumer groups sue the administration arguing that the transportation of low-income people Income for benefits to Medicaid's goal contradicts the poor with access to medical care.
"Today we are satisfied with the court's judgments, saying that low-income people in Kentucky and Arkansas maintain health insurance coverage that enables them to live, work and live as broadly as possible Coverage is simple and straightforward, "said Jane Perkins, Legal Director of the National Health Law Program, one of the two groups involved in both lawsuits.
The advocates sought to end the claim in Arkansas, which had deprived 18,000 people of coverage after failing to comply with the new rules. Arkansas was the first state in the nation to implement the mandate after the Trump administration approved it last year.
"I am disappointed with the decision handed down in the late afternoon," said Republican Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson. "I have not had a chance to review the statement in its entirety, but I intend to do so this evening and make further remarks on the future of the Arkansas Works work request tomorrow morning."
The Republican Governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, however, increases the use of litigation. He said he will eliminate the expansion of Medicaid if the state is not allowed to introduce work requirements. That could deprive 450,000 people of cover.
A Bevin spokesman did not respond immediately to a statement.
"The judge illogically concluded that Medicaid is about paying as many people as possible for healthcare, regardless of whether or not this is the case. Reporting actually makes people healthier, and we are not Agree, as a health program such as Medicaid must by its very nature take into account whether it improves people's health, "said Adam Meier, secretary of Kentucky's Cabinet of Health and Family Services.
"While this represents a setback to the implementation schedule, we believe we have an excellent record and are currently thinking about the next steps."