//  2/15/18  //  Commentary

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Easha and Jason discuss a new lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration's approval of Kentucky's new rules for its Medicaid program. The new rules will require some Medicaid recipients to work 20 hours per week to receive health benefits, and they also impose other novel requirements. As usual, you can listen online below, and subscribe here with any podcast player or here in iTunes.

Jason and Easha start with the basics: What is Medicaid, how do the states and the federal government interact, and what do states need to receive approval to deviate from the federal rules regarding Medicaid eligibility? That leads them directly to the key section of the Medicaid law, called Section 1115, which permits the federal government to approve any “experimental, pilot, or demonstration project” that is “likely to assist in promoting the objectives” of the Medicaid program. The two then break down—and disagree about—whether Kentucky's new program, which adds work requirements and other novel features to its state Medicaid program, fits into that definition. The episode with ends a pair of Trump nuggets.

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Links

  • The Complaint in the Kentucky case is available here. The case is called Stewart v. Hargan.
  • The federal letter to State Medicaid directors that they discussed extensively is here.
  • Nick Bagley, Take Care's favorite health policy expert, argued here in JAMA that work waivers will likely be found to be legal. 
  • A Kaiser Family Foundation study showing that a very small number of able-bodied Medicaid recipients are choosing not to work is available here.
  • Nick Bagley also wrote this useful piece at Vox about the ways the Obama Administration used broad executive power in the field of healthcare regulation.
  • The pair discussed three cases. The two cases that have struck down Medicaid plans because the waivers were not properly granted are Newton-Nations v. Betlach and Beno v. Shalala. The famous Second Circuit case they discussed that discusses the potential backlash against public assistance programs is Aguayo v. Richardson.
  • Jason talked in his Trump nugget about this Dallas Morning News article about Texas's suits against the federal government.
  • Easha had a three-part Trump nugget. She mentioned this Reuters' exclusive on the Trump administration expanding the definition of who counts as a "public charge" for immigration law. She then mentioned this article discussing Trump's plan to replace food stamps with "Blue Apron-style" boxes of food. And she then recommended the podcast The Uncertain Hour, which, in season one, tackles welfare and demonstrates that the more administrative hurdles are strewn in the path of receiving benefits, the more that vulnerable folks are dissuaded from taking advantage of it and the more racism permeates the program. That's available here.

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