Kentucky Governor Withdraws Controversial Application to Implement Medicaid Work Requirements

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On December 16, 2019, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear withdrew the state’s application to implement work requirements in its Medicaid program. The application was originally approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in January of 2018, which made Kentucky the first state to receive approval to implement the divisive work requirements policy. The state’s health department predicted that, if implemented, the work requirements policy would result in 95,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Kentucky losing coverage. However, after receiving approval from CMS, the implementation of the policy was delayed after a federal judge found the work requirements mandate to be contrary to the statutory intent of the Medicaid program. This prevented the policy from being implemented while the lawsuit was appealed. Following Gov. Beshear’s withdrawal of the application to CMS, the state notified the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that the state would no longer defend the work requirements policy in court and requested for the case to be dismissed for being a moot issue. A similar appeal for a work requirements policy in Arkansas is currently pending before the same court, awaiting a decision.

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