Federal judge blocks Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements: 5 things to know

Days before Medicaid work requirements were set to take effect in Kentucky, a federal judge blocked the measure, according to NPR.

Here are five things to know about the ruling:

1. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled June 29 that new rules approved by HHS and mandated by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin did not sufficiently show how beneficiaries' health would be improved. Instead, Mr. Boasberg called President Trump's administration's approval of the work requirements "arbitrary and capricious."

2. Mr. Boasberg's ruling states HHS Secretary Alex Azar "never adequately considered whether Kentucky HEALTH would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid." He also noted Mr. Azar did not mention 95,000 Kentucky residents could lose Medicaid coverage under the work requirement rule, according to NPR.

3. Mr. Bevin filed a counter lawsuit in support of the work requirements in February, and has said he will end Kentucky's Medicaid expansion if the courts block the measure. Federal officials approved Kentucky's request to implement work requirements for Medicaid recipients in January, allowing it to become the first state to impose the measure.

4. While a number of health policy experts praised the ruling, CMS Administrator Seema Verma spoke against the decision. "States are the laboratories of democracy and numerous administrations have looked to them to develop and test reforms that have advanced the objectives of the Medicaid program. The Trump Administration is no different," she said.

5. Ms. Verma said CMS is speaking with the Justice Department to determine whether to appeal the ruling. HHS has greenlighted work requirements for four other states' Medicaid programs, with another seven states awaiting agency approval.

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