In a federal lawsuit filed today in the District Court for Washington D.C., individuals represented by Indiana Legal Services (ILS) and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) are challenging Medicaid waivers that the federal government has approved for the Healthy Indiana Plan. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved Indiana’s request to impose work requirements as a condition of coverage for adults. This restriction, projected to jettison thousands of people from coverage through the Healthy Indiana Plan, accompanies other waiver cuts in the State, including lock-outs for failure to pay premiums, no retroactive coverage, and no non-emergency medical transportation to and from health care appointments. “These requirements put an extra burden on Medicaid eligibility that jeopardizes the health coverage of our clients and thousands of other vulnerable individuals” said Adam Mueller, Director of Advocacy at Indiana Legal Services.
This is the fourth federal lawsuit challenging a Medicaid waiver project with a work requirement component approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In the other three lawsuits, the plaintiffs have been successful in challenging the harmful waivers. National Health Law Program Legal Director Jane Perkins said the HHS Secretary has again taken authority he does not have. “Congress has defined the scope of the Secretary’s power to waive portions of the Medicaid Act, and that scope is limited. We have filed this case because the federal government ignored these limits in its efforts to fundamentally transform Medicaid and explode the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of health insurance to cover medically necessary services that low-income adults need. This approval will not promote coverage, but it will result in significant coverage losses, and that is the administration’s goal—to weaken the Medicaid program and cull people whom it deems unworthy from it,” Perkins said.
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About Indiana Legal Services
Indiana Legal Services, Inc., is the largest provider of free civil legal assistance to low-income people in Indiana. We help clients who are faced with legal problems that harm their ability to have such basics as food, shelter, income, medical care, or personal safety. Indiana Legal Services handles cases involving domestic violence, housing, consumer law, access to health care, LGBTQ discrimination, and access to government benefits. It does not handle criminal matters. The nonprofit firm was established in 1966, and today serves clients in all 92 counties.
About the National Health Law Program
Founded in 1969, the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) protects and advances the health rights of low-income and underserved individuals and families. NHeLP advocates, educates, and litigates at the federal and state levels. Our lawyers and policy experts fight every day for the rights of the tens of millions of people struggling to access affordable, quality health care coverage free from discrimination. For more information, visit http://www.healthlaw.org/.