Medicaid recipients sue to block new work-requirement rules

Published 7:52 am Thursday, January 25, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky.  — Fifteen Medicaid recipients in Kentucky have sued the federal government in an attempt to block new first-in-the-nation rules that would require them to work in order to keep their taxpayer-funded health benefits.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by three nonprofit groups on behalf of 15 Medicaid recipients from across Kentucky.

Less than two weeks ago, the federal government announced it would allow Kentucky to be the first state in the country to require many of its Medicaid recipients to work or perform community service in order to keep their health coverage. The waiver would also charge monthly premiums and would lock people out of their coverage for six months if they fail to notify state officials of job and income changes.

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State officials expect the new rules will result in 95,000 people losing Medicaid coverage for a variety of reasons over the next five years. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has signed an executive order that would automatically eliminate the state’s expanded Medicaid program if any part of the new rules is struck down in court. That would effectively end health coverage for more than 400,000 people.