US Appeals Panel Upholds Block Of Medicaid Work Requirements

FILE – In this Jan. 13, 2020, file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to reporters in Little Rock, Ark. A federal appeals court panel in Washington has upheld a lower court’s decision that blocked the Trump administration’s work requirements for Medicaid recipients. The Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., found Arkansas’ work requirements for Medicaid recipients to be “arbitrary and capricious.” Hutchinson said he’s hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will review the case. (AP Photo/Andrew Demillo, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal appeals court panel in Washington has upheld a lower court’s decision that blocked the Trump administration’s work requirements for Medicaid recipients.

Friday’s decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., found Arkansas’ work requirements for Medicaid recipients to be “arbitrary and capricious.”

The Trump administration has allowed states to require able-bodied adults drawing Medicaid benefits to work, volunteer or study.

Officials argue that work can make people healthier.

Nearly 20 states are in various stages of trying to implement work requirements.

Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he’s hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will review the case.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued the following statement after the decision to uphold vacating the Arkansas Works Medicaid Demonstration Project.

“I am disappointed in today’s decision and am reviewing and discussing next steps with the Department of Justice.

“The effect of this decision is that work and community engagement requirements cannot be enforced, and Arkansas must provide three months of retroactive coverage instead of the one month allowed under the Arkansas Works approval. Beneficiaries who did not comply with the work and community engagement requirements for three consecutive months in 2018 and were removed from the program remain eligible to reapply for coverage through the Medicaid expansion program.”

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