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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.

 

The Trump administration vowed to continue its efforts to force Americans to comply with stringent work requirements in exchange for basic health care, despite a ruling against the practice in federal court.

At the end of June, a federal judge struck down a plan put in place by Kentucky Republicans that mandated work requirements for Medicaid recipients. The net effect of the plan would be less people covered by Medicaid, echoing the Trump administration’s goals in attacking Obamacare.

Judge James E. Boasberg of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia slammed the Trump administration in his decision, noting their approval of Kentucky’s plan was “arbitrary and capricious.”

Jane Perkins, the legal director for the National Health Law Program, explained to the New York Times, “The purpose of the Medicaid Act is to furnish medical assistance, and this approval could not stand because it was doing just the opposite — restricting coverage.”

But speaking at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar said the ruling would not stop the Trump administration’s drive to rip health care away from poor people.

“We suffered one blow in district court in litigation, but we are undeterred. We’re proceeding forward,” Azar said.

Azar added, “We will continue to litigate, we will continue to approve plans, we will continue to work with states. We are moving forward.”

From early on in the Trump administration, poor Medicaid recipients have been in their sights. As part of a long-term conservative crusade, Republicans have continually created the false impression that Medicaid patients are somehow deceiving the government.

The reality is that most people on Medicaid are working. They are employed in low-paying positions that do not offer health insurance. So instead of going without care, Medicaid provides vulnerable populations with coverage.

One of the major initiatives as part of Obamacare has been an expansion of Medicaid in the states. Republicans have fought this expansion, and even when they have accepted it they imposed harsh requirements like Kentucky did.

The goal is consistent: Cutting health care for poor people.

Despite their legal setbacks, Azar’s comments show that the Trump administration and their Republican allies will not stray from their mission of hurting the poor. Instead, they have indicated they will just find another way to do it.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

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