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DC judge mandates a right to Medicaid for able-bodied adults without work requirements

Conservative Review

Republicans have failed to promote a single conservative fiscal reform to even tweak the growing welfare state, despite their promise to fight for welfare work requirements. But at least Republicans at a state level are promoting conservatism, right? Well, not if the courts are crowned king of the republic.

Courts have become the final arbiter of cultural issues and now even border and national security issues. Thus, it was only a matter of time before they ventured into fiscal/economic issues. Recently, several states have been conditioning Medicaid eligibility upon work requirements. Arkansas, Kentucky, and New Hampshire got a waiver from HHS to require that non-disabled beneficiaries under 65 show that they have completed a certain number of hours of work requirements or similar community engagement. The issue is popular with the public, but now, one man, Judge James Boasberg, has taken it upon himself to prevent every state throughout the country from enacting this commonsense reform.

Yesterday, D.C. District Court Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, followed up on his injunctions earlier this year on HHS’ approval of Arkansas’ and Kentucky’s plan for work requirements, doing the same to HHS approval for New Hampshire. Earlier this year, New Hampshire adopted Granite Advantage Community Engagement, a program to require able-bodied adults to document 100 hours of work, schooling, job training, or volunteer work in order to apply for Medicaid.

“On their face, these work requirements are more exacting than Kentucky’s and Arkansas’s,” Boasberg wrote in his smug injunction order. “Yet the agency has still not contended with the possibility that the project would cause a substantial number of persons to lose their health-care coverage.”

But who says it is the role of this one judge to ascertain the purpose of the Medicaid program? As lawyers for Arkansas said in response to his ruling on their state’s rule in March, the “ultimate conclusion that Medicaid’s ‘core purpose’ is the mere perpetuation of coverage with no specific goal in mind conflicts with commonsense, text, and precedent.”

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