Trump officials take new step forward on Kentucky Medicaid work requirements

Trump officials take new step forward on Kentucky Medicaid work requirements
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The Trump administration is taking a new step forward on its plan to impose work requirements in Kentucky’s Medicaid program, despite a federal judge blocking the move last month.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said Wednesday that it is going to reopen a new 30-day comment period on Kentucky’s plan. The move could allow the administration to show that it is giving further consideration to concerns about the proposal, after the judge ruled that officials did not give adequate consideration to the coverage losses that could result.

Work requirements for Medicaid are a top priority of the Trump administration, as well as CMS Administrator Seema Verma, and the move shows that officials are trying to find a way forward, rather than backing down in the face of the judge’s ruling.

“CMS is planning to open a new 30-day federal public comment period on the KY HEALTH demonstration to better inform any future decision on the demonstration that was remanded back to the Department for further review,” a CMS spokesperson said.

Politico first reported the move from CMS on Wednesday.

Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled last month that the administration did not adequately consider the state’s estimates that 95,000 people would lose coverage due to the work requirements.

If the administration’s new move to open a new comment period does not address the judge’s concerns, officials can also appeal the decision to a higher court.

The Trump administration argues that “able-bodied” adults on Medicaid should have to work to receive benefits.

Democrats counter that the requirements simply cause people to lose coverage, including those who do work but who get caught up in bureaucratic hurdles trying to prove they meet the requirements.

Four states, Kentucky, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Arkansas, currently have been approved by the administration for Medicaid work requirements, with others hoping to move forward as well.