Should the Federal Government Allow States to Require Medicaid Recipients to Work?

Amid reports estimating that over 18,000 Arkansan Medicaid beneficiaries lost health care coverage in 2018 and that 136,000 Kentuckian Medicaid beneficiaries could lose coverage as soon as April 1, 2019, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sent a strong message to the Trump Administration: The approval of these states’ Medicaid work requirements “cannot stand.” With the support of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—which operates the joint federal-state Medicaid program—Arkansas implemented an 80-hour-per-month work requirement for its non-disabled, non-elderly Medicaid beneficiaries, and Kentucky was ready to do the same. But Judge Boasberg found that CMS failed to adequately consider the core objectives of Medicaid when approving the states’ work requirement programs and that the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, acted…

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