U.S. District Judge James Boasberg cited a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit throwing out HHS’ approval of Arkansas’ similar waiver. The appellate panel’s unanimous opinion said the waiver approval was not consistent with the primary objective of the Medicaid statute, which is furnishing medical coverage.
Modern Healthcare: Judge Blocks Michigan’s Medicaid Work Requirement
A federal judge on Wednesday blocked Michigan’s Medicaid work requirement, which took effect in January and could have resulted in thousands of low-income adults losing coverage as early as June. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington vacated HHS’ December 2018 approval of Michigan’s “community engagement” waiver that required Medicaid expansion enrollees to report 80 hours a month of work or other “community engagement” activities to retain their coverage. He is still considering the legality of new premiums and copays under the waiver. (Meyer, 3/4)
The Associated Press: Judge Invalidates Michigan Medicaid Work Requirements
The ruling was welcomed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whose administration had sought a quick decision after unsuccessfully pushing to delay the rules that were enacted by her Republican predecessor and the GOP-controlled Legislature. Prior to the ruling, the state had been preparing to notify more than 80,000 of roughly 675,000 enrollees in Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program that they did not comply with reporting requirements for January and would lose their coverage on May 31 if they did not report for February and March. (3/4)
Mlive.Com: U.S. District Court Blocks Michigan’s Medicaid Work Requirements
Whitmer’s administration had previously urged the legislature to hold off on implementing the requirements while legal challenges were pending. “I asked the legislature to pause because we knew this was going to happen, and they wouldn’t,” she said. “I’m grateful that the decision came in such a timely way so that we haven’t created a lot of unnecessary anxiety and waste of taxpayer dollars.” (Mack, 3/4)
Michigan Radio: Federal Court Strikes Down Michigan’s Medicaid Work Requirement
But Republicans say Whitmer should not move too quickly to un-do the work requirement.“It’s all right to put it in neutral. I just wouldn’t put it in reverse,” said state Senator Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford), who chairs the Senate human services budget subcommittee. MacGregor says the decision will probably be appealed and he wants to wait until a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. (Pluta, 3/4)
In other CMS news —
Modern Healthcare: Insurers Warn CMS Not To End Auto-Enrollment For Low-Income Individuals
Health insurers and their trade associations, providers, employer groups and unions have all sounded an alarm over the federal government’s recent suggestion that it may stop automatically re-enrolling certain low-income people in Affordable Care Act exchange plans. The CMS in January asked for feedback on whether it should eliminate or reduce tax credits for subsidized exchange enrollees who receive $0 premium plans unless they actively re-enroll in coverage during open enrollment. The agency said the change could reduce the risk that it pays out premium tax credits to ineligible people. (Livingston, 3/3)
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