Federal Judge Rules Against Work Reporting Requirements in Kentucky and Arkansas, As Utah Awaits Approval for Similar Program
March 27, 2019

Matt Slonaker

SALT LAKE— United States District Judge James Boasberg invalidated work reporting requirements in Kentucky and Arkansas today, sending them back to HHS and CMS, stating, "The court cannot concur that the Medicaid Act leaves the secretary so unconstrained, nor that the states are so armed to refashion the program Congress designed in any way they choose."

This decision has potential ramifications for Utah, where the the first piece of the legislature's SB 96 partial Medicaid expansion waiver is currently pending with CMS. Local advocates have long warned that work reporting requirements would face litigation here if approved, and today's decision only reiterates the validity of the argument that these rules run contrary to the law and the purpose of the Medicaid program.

In Arkansas, the only state where work reporting requirements have been implemented, 18,000 people lost their care in 2018, which is real evidence of the harm that comes with these red tape barriers. Additionally, new data from Arkansas shows that for more than 16,000 of these individuals, there is no evidence that they found new work. The Arkansas program will now be halted, and eligible individuals can receive the health care they need without piles of additional paperwork.

Stacy Stanford, health policy analyst at UHPP stated, " Providing access to needed physical and mental health care helps people find jobs and transition off of Medicaid. Red tape and penalties are ineffective, and disproportionately punitive for individuals with chronic health issues and dis abilities. Good health must come before people can secure good employment."

Matt Slonaker, executive director at UHPP added, "Th e court’s decision is a clear indication Utah’s work reporting requirement plan will not pass muster. Full Medicaid expansion, without unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles, is the most effective way to provide a path to work for low-income Utahns."
For more information contact:

Stacy Stanford
Policy Analyst, UHPP

Matt Slonaker
Executive Director, UHPP