Medicaid Work Requirements Struck Down by Court

On Friday June 29, Federal Judge James E. Boasberg rejected Kentucky Governor Bevin and the Trump administration’s attempt to fundamentally alter Kentucky’s Medicaid program and make it much harder for vulnerable families to receive health care. Specifically, the court ruled that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did not have the legal authority to approve a request by Governor Bevin to tie Medicaid eligibility to work requirements and new administrative reporting burdens.

 

On Friday June 29, Federal Judge James E. Boasberg rejected Governor Bevin and the Trump administration’s attempt to fundamentally alter Kentucky’s Medicaid program and make it much harder for vulnerable families to receive health care. Specifically, the court ruled that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did not have the legal authority to approve a request by Governor Bevin to tie Medicaid eligibility to work requirements and new administrative reporting burdens.

Three other states have received permission to implement work requirements and seven others are seeking clearance, but Boasberg said the Trump administration's approval of Kentucky's plan was "arbitrary and capricious" because it did not consider whether the plan would further the legislative purpose of Medicaid:  to help states provide medical assistance to residents.

The court decision emphasizes Medicaid’s mission: Medicaid is about health insurance. Policies that make it harder for people to get health insurance run counter to the program’s purpose.

This decision will allow 100,000 Kentuckians to stay healthy, and take care of their families. And it should give pause to the Trump administration, Kentucky, and other states seeking illegal and harmful Medicaid changes that take health care away from Medicaid enrollees.

Most Medicaid enrollees that are not elderly or disabled are in families that are working. for more information about why West Virginians oppose Medicaid work requirements, see Frequently Asked Questions about Medicaid Work Requirements.  For more information about a more positive model to helping West Virginians on Medicaid secure jobs that can lift them out of poverty, see our fact sheet on the Montana HELP-Link program.

West Virginians Together for Medicaid