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Indiana's Medicaid Work Requirements Challenged in 4th Lawsuit of Its Kind

News  |  By Steven Porter  
   September 24, 2019

The plaintiffs claim the Trump administration aims to 'explode' the ACA's Medicaid expansion and 'cull people whom it deems unworthy.'

Some of the same people who have successfully challenged Medicaid work requirements in Kentucky, Arkansas, and New Hampshire are helping beneficiaries in Indiana challenge that state's new requirements as well.

Four beneficiaries filed suit Monday, with help from the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and Indiana Legal Services (ILS), in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They're challenging the federal government's 2018 approval of waivers for the Healthy Indiana Plan, which include work requirements that have been described as less-severe than those imposed by other states.

In a statement, NHeLP Legal Director Jane Perkins said the law narrowly defines the Health and Human Services secretary's discretion to waive provisions of the Medicaid Act.

"We have filed this case because the federal government ignored these limits in its efforts to fundamentally transform Medicaid and explode the Affordable Care Act's expansion of health insurance to cover medically necessary services that low-income adults need," Perkins said. "This approval will not promote coverage, but it will result in significant coverage losses, and that is the administration's goal—to weaken the Medicaid program and cull people whom it deems unworthy from it."

Proponents of work requirements, including Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, who worked closely with Indiana on earlier iterations of its Medicaid program, have argued that such rules promote self-sufficiency and help beneficiaries rise out of poverty.

There's an appeal pending in the U.S. Circuit Court for D.C. regarding the first two Medicaid work requirement waivers that were vacated.

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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