UPDATE, Feb 14, 2020: A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court’s decision that blocked the Trump administration’s work requirements for Medicaid recipients. The decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., found Arkansas’s work requirements for Medicaid recipients to be “arbitrary and capricious.” Read more>>>
“Friday’s appeals court decision also lashed the Trump administration for failing to account for how many Arkansans might lose coverage. In Arkansas, more than 18,000 people lost Medicaid coverage in 2018 as a result of the work rules, before they were invalidated by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg last year. Just a fraction of those enrollees rejoined the program while the rules were in effect, state data showed.
Lost health coverage “is a matter of importance” under Medicaid law, Sentelle wrote.”
18,000 Arkansans have been thrown off their healthcare because of a reporting requirement that has been thrown out by a judge. Arkansas Democrats have filed legislation to immediately restore coverage to these Arkansans.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Wednesday ruled that Governor Asa Hutchinson had illegally required strict reporting requirements in order for Arkansans to keep their Medicaid healthcare coverage.
Rep. Andrew Collins of Little Rock filed HB1966 to restore coverage, and spoke at a press conference at the state Capitol on Monday.
“There are 18,000 Arkansans out there who need action now. They have been done a great injustice by an illegal reporting requirement. With no health insurance, they can’t afford the cost of prescriptions, or checkups, or surgeries. They risk losing their job, being unable to take care of their kids, or being unable to take care of an elderly parent. This was through no fault of their own,” said state Rep. Andrew Collins. “This is about righting a wrong. That’s why we’re filing a bill that would require the state to immediately restore health insurance for everyone who was thrown off the rolls due to this illegal reporting requirement.”
Rep. Reginald Murdock of Marianna, the bill’s co-sponsor, joined Collins at the podium.
“Democrats value hard work, and believe that Arkansans ought to be able to provide for themselves and their families. But a reporting requirement does not do anything to incentivize work,” said state Rep. Reginald Murdock. “The reporting requirement is gone, but the hardship is not over, and our work at the state Capitol building is not over. We have 18,000 people in this state who were removed due to the requirement. Now let’s show the same resiliency in recapturing those citizens by passing legislation to aggressively reclaim these Arkansans.”
The bill ultimately stalled in committee, amidst Republican opposition to healthcare for working Arkansans.