U.S. appeals panel upholds block of Medicaid work requirements

  • U.S. appeals panel upholds block of Medicaid work requirements

U.S. appeals panel upholds block of Medicaid work requirements

Foundation for Government Accountability's Jared Meyer on the Trump administration's push for Medicaid work requirements.

A US appeals court on Friday sided with a lower court ruling that blocked a Trump administration work requirement for Medicaid recipients to receive benefits, calling the government's mandate "arbitrary and capricious". It failed, for example, to consider those who might lose coverage simply because they lacked internet access and couldn't report their work activity online, Boasberg found.

Medicaid health care coverage was originally provided to the elderly, needy families with children and the disabled, including the blind. ME abandoned the work requirement for its low-income health insurance program in January.

"Arkansas implemented a work requirement in order to help recipients get worker training and job opportunities while receiving benefits", Hutchinson said.

Why it matters: Medicaid covers about 70 million people - more than Medicare. But in 2010, Congress expanded the program to low-income adults that didn't fit the previous categories. About 18,000 beneficiaries lost coverage past year due to the rule. "It means that thousands of low-income people in Arkansas will maintain their health insurance coverage - coverage that enables them to live, work and participate as fully as they can in their communities".

The federal appeals court reasoned Congress did not amend Medicaid to require proof of work while considering two other welfare programs that did mandate the work standards. Health policy scholars say that's an important distinction to understand when looking at the impact of the court's ruling.

What's next: The most likely next step is an appeal to the Supreme Court. It's the biggest item in many states' budgets.

The National Health Law Program, which represented Medicaid enrollees affected by the work requirement, praised Friday's opinion.

Friday's ruling may serve as a warning for future approvals.

The decision will nearly certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. "But they probably won't".