“Indiana is temporarily halting its Medicaid work requirements because of a lawsuit, part of a trend among states to rethink or tweak plans that base the program’s health benefits on employment.”
Indiana is ceasing its work requirement for eligibility for Medicaid to allow time for a lawsuit that was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to be resolved.
The Wall Street Journal reports in its recent article, “Medicaid Work Requirement Is Halted by Indiana,” that the plaintiffs are claiming that the work requirements will jeopardize coverage. The action was filed on behalf of four state residents by Indiana Legal Services, a nonprofit legal firm, and the National Health Law Program.
Several other states are looking at their Medicaid eligibility work requirements. For example, Pennsylvania will ask beneficiaries if they want job training, rather than basing Medicaid benefits on work. The State of Ohio wants to have a caseworker to contact Medicaid beneficiaries prior to ending their coverage, if they aren’t working. In Arizona, which has federal approval to implement work requirements, the state government has decided to wait with its program. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the program, has okayed work requirements in nine states.
The litigation is the latest setback for President Trump’s call to overhaul Medicaid, by basing benefits on work. His budget proposal called for instituting work requirements in the program for low-income and disabled people. Those supporting the measure argue that the requirements help lift people out of poverty, by connecting them to jobs where they can obtain employer-based coverage. However, critics say it’s just a scam to remove people from Medicaid. A federal district judge has ruled against Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas, Kentucky and New Hampshire.
Oral arguments were heard in October in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on lawsuits against the work requirements. The plaintiffs claim that the Trump administration overstepped its legal authority.
Some other states have been waiting or refining their own work requirement plans to make them less restrictive in light of the recent litigation. Arkansas and Michigan have implemented or are taking action to make compliance and reporting easier.
Research shows that beneficiaries have lost coverage as a result of the requirements. In Arkansas, more than 18,000 people were cut from Medicaid under the state’s work requirements.
Congressional Democrats have called on Trump to stop the work requirements in Medicaid, but administration officials have said the requirements help enrollees.
Reference: The Wall Street Journal (October 31, 2019) “Medicaid Work Requirement Is Halted by Indiana”