A federal judge in Washington says Arkansas’ Medicaid work requirements create too many obstacles for people trying to get healthcare.
The ruling stops Arkansas from enforcing the law, and it ordered a halt to a similar program in Kentucky.
The court action threatens plans by more than a dozen other states to roll-out similar rules.
“It means really that hardworking people can get healthcare and not be caught up in this paperwork trap that kicked them off.”
The ruling is being praised by liberal healthcare advocates like Leslie Dach with “Protect our care.” He says work requirements for healthcare are difficult to verify and counterproductive.
“If you don’t have healthcare, it’s harder to work, it’s not easier to work,” said Dach.
But conservatives — including Republicans in Congress — argue the work requirements help lift people out of poverty and get them off Government help.
“This is about creating a system that not only helps those when they hit tough times but also encourages them to get back on their feet,” said Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack.
The judge’s decision will almost surely be appealed and could be headed for the supreme court.
Despite the ruling, the Center for Medicaid Services, which administers the program, says it will continue to support states that want to take steps like Arkansas to reform their programs.