Federal judge blocks Kentucky Medicaid work requirement

A federal judge on Friday blocked [opinion, PDF] a proposed Kentucky Medicaid plan that would include work requirements as a condition of receiving the state’s subsidized health coverage.

Under the proposed Kentucky plan, titled Kentucky HEALTH, the state would impose “community-engagement” requirements for both traditional and expansion Medicaid populations. It also included a new mandate that would require that those recipients work (or participate in other qualifying activities) for at least 80 hours each month as a condition of receiving health coverage. The project also called for, among other things, increased premiums and more stringent reporting requirements.

US District Judge James Boasberg wrote that the HHS Secretary failed to question the impact on health care — an omission that was “arbitrary and capricious.”

At bottom, the record shows that 95,000 people would lose Medicaid coverage, and yet the Secretary paid no attention to that deprivation. Nor did he address how Kentucky HEALTH would otherwise help ‘furnish . . . medical assistance.’ In other words, he glossed over ‘the impact of the state’s project’ on the individuals whom Medicaid ‘was enacted to protect.’

The complaint was filed in January [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] by three organizations representing 15 Kentucky Medicaid recipients, who argued that the change would harm Kentuckians across the state by limiting their access to health services, including check-ups, diabetes treatment, mental health services, blood pressure monitoring and treatment, and vision and dental care.

Former Trump administration acting Secretary of Health and Human Services [official website] Eric Hargan approved [JURIST report] states’ Medicaid work requirements in January.

 

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