Arkansas governor asks Trump to appeal decision on Medicaid

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said he's asked the Trump administration to appeal a federal judge's Wednesday decision to block the state's Medicaid work requirements. 

“I'm urging the Department of Justice and [Health and Human Services] Secretary Azar to appeal the ruling and to seek an expedited appeal of the district courts decision,” Hutchinson said at a news conference Thursday. 

HHS hasn't said what its next steps will be, but Hutchinson said the administration is committed to work requirements for Medicaid.

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“I expect this to move quickly,” Hutchinson said, adding that he was “very encouraged” by the conversation.

“It is important to emphasize today that I remain fully committed to a work requirement and we are in this for the long haul because we believe it is the right policy,” he said. 

Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, an Obama appointee, ruled Wednesday afternoon in two separate cases that the Trump administration didn't consider whether the work requirements met the objective of Medicaid: to provide coverage to needy populations.

More than 18,000 people have lost coverage since the work requirements took effect last summer. 

“We will continue to defend our efforts to give states greater flexibility to help low income Americans rise out of poverty,” Medicaid administrator Seema Verma said in a statement Wednesday.

“We believe, as have numerous past Administrations, that states are the laboratories of democracy and we will vigorously support their innovative, state-driven efforts to develop and test reforms that will advance the objectives of the Medicaid program.”