Requiring Medicaid enrollees to work in order to qualify for benefits violates the purpose of the health care program for low-income people, a federal judge ruled Wednesday as he struck down a major health care priority for President Donald Trump’s administration.
Last January, the Trump administration invited states to impose these requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries for the first time. Since then, the federal government has approved work requirements in eight states and is considering applications in seven more.
In his ruling Wednesday, Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided with plaintiffs who argued that work requirements do not further the Medicaid program’s statutory purpose, which is to provide access to health care for people with low incomes.
The ruling has immediate ramifications for the work requirements already approved in Kentucky and Arkansas.
Kentucky was the first state to begin implementing work requirements last January. Last June, Boasberg blocked them from taking effect.
Arkansas began implementing work requirements last June. Since then, 18,000 people have lost their Medicaid benefits.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.