Capitol Correspondence - 06.18.18

Oral Arguments Start for Lawsuit on HHS’ Right to Allow Medicaid Work Requirement

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According to Modern Healthcare:

“In a case with major national implications, the Trump administration and advocacy groups are set to argue in federal court Friday over whether the HHS Secretary has the legal authority to allow Kentucky to establish a work requirement and other tough new conditions on people receiving Medicaid coverage. 


[Advocacy groups] representing 16 beneficiaries, are suing to block Kentucky’s unprecedented Medicaid waiver requiring beneficiaries to work or participate in ‘community engagement’ activities such as job training, school or volunteering. The federal government never previously permitted states to impose work requirements as a condition of Medicaid eligibility. 


The central issue in the suit is the scope of the HHS secretary’s authority to establish Section 1115 demonstrations, which have grown increasingly ambitious in reshaping state Medicaid programs.


The outcome of the case, to be argued in Washington, could affect the fate of similar Medicaid work requirements approved by the CMS in Arkansas, Indiana, and New Hampshire shortly after the agency issued a guidance letter in January permitting such requirements. Arizona, Maine, Mississippi, Michigan, Utah and Wisconsin are seeking similar waivers. 

The judge has hinted he may issue a ruling before the work requirement takes effect in July, and legal experts say the case could have major ramifications for Medicaid.”

ANCOR has been following this lawsuit and will report the ruling once it occurs.