The legal fight over the Trump administration’s most aggressive play to cut Medicaid, explained


By: Dylan Scott

Medicaid work requirements will be in federal court on Thursday, as conservative Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and the Trump administration argue they should be allowed to tie poor people’s health insurance to work requirements or other “community engagement.”

Adding to the confusion, Bevin didn’t even really need to issue that executive order. He could end Medicaid expansion any time he wants.

”It was just a threat to the judge,” Joan Alker of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families told me previously. “He could terminate the waiver and expansion with six months’ notice.”

But the through line here is clear: Bevin is trying to take Medicaid expansion hostage, arguing that if Kentucky isn’t allowed to impose a work requirement, then there will be no more expansion. By the Bevin administration’s logic, work requirements do advance the goals of Medicaid, because without them, Kentucky is going to end its expansion and hundreds of thousands of the state’s most vulnerable citizens will lose their insurance.

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