Are Medicaid work requirements legal?

by Nicholas Bagley — Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018

That’s the title of a new piece of mine that came out in JAMA this morning. It’s pretty timely: a lawsuit was filed last week challenging CMS’s approval of Kentucky’s waiver, which includes work requirements. More waivers, and more litigation, are sure to come.

I’m no fan of work requirements. They’re harsh, stigmatizing, and ineffective. And they will hurt people, including the disabled, to no good end. But I’m skeptical of the litigation.

[In general,] the courts have not been moved by the argument—true though it may be—that Congress never meant for section 1115 to be a vehicle for the adoption of sweeping, controversial, and partisan reforms to Medicaid. Instead of winning in court, the opponents of work requirements may need to win some elections.

For a contrary view, take a look at Emily Parento’s and Nicole Huberfeld’s op-ed in the Lexington-Herald Leader.

@nicholas_bagley

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About Nicholas Bagley

Nicholas Bagley is a Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School.

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