Justices conform to evaluation legality of Medicaid work necessities

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Justices agree to review legality of Medicaid work requirements

Posted on Fri, Dec 4th 2020 at 5:39 pm by Amy Howe

The Supreme Court announced Friday afternoon that it would weigh the legality of the Trump administration’s approval of Medicaid’s work requirements in Arkansas and New Hampshire. In a brief order, the judges in Azar v Gresham and Arkansas v Gresham reviewed and consolidated the cases for an hour of hearing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in February that the permit should be revoked. The court ruled that the Minister of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, given the go-ahead for the work programs, did not consider if doing so would result in Medicaid beneficiaries losing health insurance. By tying Medicaid coverage to employment, professional training, or community service, the programs risk undermining the goal of health insurance – which the appeals court said is a “primary goal of Medicaid.”

Both Azar and Arkansas went to the Supreme Court and told the judges that the DC Circuit’s decision was wrong and, if upheld, could threaten other states’ efforts to implement programs that are “health or financial independence, or both “By promoting Medicaid recipients.

The challengers attacked the federal government for asking permission from the Supreme Court during a pandemic to “revive demonstration projects that would allow states to fire people from Medicaid for not looking for and getting jobs that aren’t there” , and urged the judges to decline this review. They stressed that not only is the DC Circuit’s decision correct, but that the government is now trying to defend its decision to approve the work requirements for a reason it never cited in that decision.

The cases are unlikely to be discussed until late winter or early spring. Law professor Stephen Vladeck suggested on Friday that President-elect Joe Biden’s administration could revoke the government’s approval of work requests after he took office, potentially leading the case up for discussion before the dispute. However, revoking the permit would likely take some time and the state would be entitled to an administrative hearing to contest any attempt to revoke it.

The court is expected to issue further orders from the conference on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. EST.

This post was originally published on Howe on the Court.

Posted in Azar v. Gresham, Arkansas v. Gresham, Featured, Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended citation:
Amy Howe, Judge agrees to review the legality of Medicaid’s job requirements.
SCOTUSblog (December 4, 2020, 5:39 pm), https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/12/justices-agree-to-review-legality-of-medicaid-work-requirements/