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Sara Rosenbaum on Medicaid Work Requirement and the Kentucky Lawsuit

Shortly after Kentucky announced its new work requirements for the Medicaid program, a lawsuit was brought by residents against the government. Sara Rosenbaum, JD, the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and founding chair of the Department of Health Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, explains what other states looking to implement work requirements might face.


Shortly after Kentucky announced its new work requirements for the Medicaid program, a lawsuit was brought by residents against the government. Sara Rosenbaum, JD, the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and founding chair of the Department of Health Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, explains what this lawsuit might mean for other states looking to implement work requirements.

Transcript

Kentucky residents have already brought a lawsuit against the government for the state’s Medicaid work requirement; do you expect this will be the result for most states that try to implement work requirements?

No, I don’t. I think that Kentucky represents a particularly severe version of work requirement. As I say, I expect that in Virginia it may be that this opens a door for us and that they will negotiate some combination of work supports as a part of a Medicaid expansion—while they may not be my first choice, are not supports that beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries don’t think they can live with.

Kentucky is quite unique because here’s a state that simply did an expansion and brought half million people into its program and the results have been what you would think in terms of care and access. There are clearly costs that the state has now because of the expansion that it didn’t have in the beginning but that’s a different set of problems from just deciding you’re going to A) remove 1000 people and B) you’re going to make the program so hard to get into that people won’t enroll.

 
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