Court ruling on Kentucky's Medicaid work rules could affect Michigan

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Protesters fight Michigan's Medicaid work requirements outside the Detroit office of gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Bill Schuette. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Protesters fight Michigan's Medicaid work requirements outside the Detroit office of gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Bill Schuette.

In case you missed it — a federal judge on Friday blocked Kentucky's new requirement that some Medicaid recipients show they've worked a certain number of hours in order to keep their health benefits.

The ruling could spell trouble for a recently passed Michigan law, which would require an estimated 540,000 Healthy Michigan enrollees to prove they work 80 hours a month to keep their benefits.



In Kentucky's case, the judge did not rule on whether Medicaid work requirements were constitutional, but said that the state had not "adequately considered" whether the plan would “help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid.”

Here's what the Detroit Free Press had to say about the broader impact of the judge's decision:
Boasberg's ruling Friday could slow the process for Michigan and other states considerably depending on what the Trump administration does next. It also means there could be court challenges made to other states' programs as they moved forward.

Angela Minicuci, with the state Department of Health and Human Services, on Friday said only that the agency will "review the ruling to determine how it may impact Michigan."

The New York Times reported that "although Judge Boasberg’s ruling affects only Kentucky, advocacy groups will likely challenge other states’ requirements and his decision could influence those cases."



The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Friday that it was conferring with the Department of Justice to determine whether to appeal. The case would be appealed to the Supreme Court, which is expected to soon lean more conservative, as Trump gets set to make his second appointment in less than two years as president.

The federal government is involved because it must grant waivers to states who wish to make such changes to Medicaid. The New York Times reported Friday that Michigan had yet to submit its waiver.

In response to the Friday ruling, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin cut dental and vision coverage for nearly 500,000 Medicaid recipients in his state.

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