Healthcare

Kemp sues Biden administration over Medicaid work requirements

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is suing the Biden administration to force the reinstatement of the state’s Medicaid waiver.

The plan, which was approved in the final days of the Trump administration but had not yet taken effect, would have imposed work requirements and premiums while covering some additional people.

The Biden administration rejected those parts of the plan last month, saying the policies would hurt, rather than help, people gain access to coverage, which is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Simply put, the Biden administration is obstructing our ability to implement innovative healthcare solutions for more than 50,000 hardworking Georgia families rather than rely on a one-size-fits-none broken system,” Kemp said in a statement Friday. 

“They have attempted an unlawful regulatory bait and switch, and it is clear that their decision is not being driven by policy – rather politics – as they attempt to force their top-down agenda on the American people,” Kemp added.

The original plan stopped short of the full-scale Medicaid expansion supported by Democrats, which would have covered thousands more low-income adults regardless of their employment status. 

Kemp’s plan, called “Pathways to Coverage,” would have covered about 50,000 adults who met the work requirements and who earned no more than 100 percent of the federal poverty level, just under $12,900.

Most individuals who earned between 50 percent and 100 percent of the poverty level would also have been required to pay monthly premiums.

However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services only rejected the state’s work requirement and premiums; the coverage expansion to 100 percent of the poverty level was left in place. 

Kemp’s office said without premiums and work requirements, the only thing left is “significant Medicaid expansion in Georgia without condition,” which was “not what Georgia signed up for and represents an egregious regulatory bait and switch on the core terms of a massive federal-state program.”

But the coverage portion alone without the work requirements and premiums plan would be much more expensive than fully expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare.

According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, the cost per person for fully expanding Medicaid is five times lower than Georgia’s Medicaid waiver, because the federal government pays 90 percent of the costs for full expansion and only 67 percent of costs for partial expansion. 

No state work requirements have been approved under the current administration, and courts have struck down previous attempts in other states that were approved by the Trump administration.

Healthcare