Are Work Requirements for Medicaid Doomed?


By: Mattie Quinn

It took 18 months — and a change in White House administration — for the federal government to give Kentucky the green light to make work a requirement for some low-income people to get health insurance. Now, the state might have to wait even longer. Now, the state might have to wait even longer. On Wednesday, The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Health Law Program and the Kentucky Equal Justice Center filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of 15 Medicaid recipients in Kentucky who say they would be in danger of losing health coverage once the changes take effect.

Up to 100,000 people are expected to lose coverage in Kentucky as a result of this waiver, which plantiffs argue violates the objectives of Medicaid. “Waivers are supposed to be experimental,” Cuello says. When you knowingly take away health benefits, “what is the experiment? What are you testing?”

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