The lawsuit against Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's plan to impose work requirements on people who enrolled in Medicaid after the program was expanded under Obamacare is ongoing and, fortunately, the judge overseeing the case is not as stupid as the Bevin administration is.
The primary question facing the court is if waivers for work requirements granted by the Trump regime are permissible under the law as it was written by Congress, but Bevin has gone further than that.
Lawyers representing Bevin told the judge overseeing the case that he will be responsible for 400,000 people losing their health care if he rules against the state.
Matthew Kuhn, arguing on behalf of Kentucky, pointed to Bevin’s executive order to terminate the state’s Medicaid expansion entirely, stripping health coverage from more than 400,000 people, if the court strikes down any piece of the waiver.
Kuhn claimed that “serious budget problems” mean that “the governor will be forced to withdraw from expanded Medicaid” if he’s not allowed to impose the rules, which are expected to save the state money by kicking at least 95,000 people off of Medicaid. “We are making sure Medicaid remains sustainable,” he said.
Rather astutely, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg responded by asking how this will save the state a significant amount of money when the federal government covers 95 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion. Bevin's work requirements will only apply to people who are covered by the expansion, not the original Medicaid program which is far more costly.
It doesn't make any sense to say that it would be necessary to kick 400,000 people off the program if kicking just 95,000 off the program would suffice. If kicking 95,000 off the Medicaid rolls would be enough to solve the state's "serious budget problems," why would solving those (non-existent) problems require canceling the entire program?
And speaking of budget problems that don't make any sense, just implementing Bevin's obstacle course is already costing the state a significant amount of money because it requires the creation of an entirely new statewide bureaucracy for implementing and tracking his requirements.
The question of cost is beside the point when determining if work requirements are even legal under current law, but I don't think implying the judge will be responsible for people losing their health care was a winning move. Not when the judge clearly knows better.