Capitol Correspondence - 02.25.19

Federal Court to Hear Argument on Medicaid Work Requirements in March

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We are sharing this article by Politico Pro because ANCOR has concerns about Medicaid work requirements affecting people with disabilities and the Direct Support Professional workforce.

As written by Politico Pro:

“A federal judge who previously blocked Kentucky’s Medicaid work rules today scheduled oral argument on March 14 to consider ongoing litigation against the state and a similar requirement in Arkansas.

Health care advocates who successfully challenged the first attempt to approve Kentucky work requirements are again asking the judge to throw out the rules, which the Trump administration reapproved in November. Their challenge will be considered alongside a lawsuit seeking to halt Medicaid work rules in Arkansas, the first state where the requirement took effect last year and where roughly 18,000 people lost coverage.

The judge, James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, last June said federal health officials failed to consider how the Kentucky plan would affect coverage. Months after the ruling, the Trump administration again approved Kentucky’s plan to require some Medicaid enrollees to work or participate in a job-related activity for at least 80 hours per month to keep their health benefits.

In its reapproval, CMS said it determined the Kentucky project advanced Medicaid’s purpose of providing coverage in part because the work rules promote enrollee health and financial independence. But the three advocacy groups challenging the Kentucky plan in court argued that nothing changed to justify the administration’s second approval.

Kentucky’s Medicaid program is slated to roll out the work requirement in July. The program is projected to cover 95,000 fewer people under the new coverage scheme, which also includes coverage lockouts and additional costs for enrollees.

In Arkansas, only a small fraction of the 18,000 enrollees who lost benefits re-enrolled in the program in January — the first month they were allowed to rejoin.

CMS has also approved Medicaid work requirements in six other states.”