Washington, D.C. – Low-income individuals in Michigan, represented by a coalition of state and national health care advocates, sued the Trump administration challenging its approval of Michigan’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver project. The waiver project conditions Medicaid coverage on work requirements and adds barriers to accessing care, including heightened and mandatory premiums for low-income individuals and families.
The National Health Law Program, the Michigan Center for Civil Justice, and the Michigan Poverty Law Program represent the plaintiffs in the legal challenge. Legal challenges involving similar waiver projects in four other states (Kentucky, Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Indiana) are also underway.
The National Health Law Program Legal Director Jane Perkins said the HHS Secretary has taken authority he does not have. “Congress requires waivers to further Medicaid’s stated objective of furnishing medical assistance. We filed this case because the federal government, once again, has ignored these limits in its effort to fundamentally transform Medicaid and ‘explode’ the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of health coverage for the medically necessary services that low-income people need.”
This waiver project, like those approved in other states, will result in massive coverage losses and negatively impact the health and wellbeing of Michigan’s must vulnerable communities.
Kelly L. Bidelman, Executive Director of the Michigan Center for Civil Justice, pointed out that the vast majority of people subject to the waiver’s work requirements are already working or are unable to work. “Implementing work requirements will result in thousands losing health care. Many Michiganders who receive health care through the plan are already working or face barriers to working, such as lack of affordable child care or lack of transportation,” said Bidelman. “Having access to medical care enables people to stay healthy enough to engage in society and live meaningful lives.”
Lisa Ruby of the Michigan Poverty Law Program put a number to the risk. “A recent study estimates that between 61,000 and 183,000 people will lose coverage due to the work requirements alone. It’s not hyperbole to say that this law will lead to illness and death for individuals who lose their health care coverage.”
Read the complaint here.
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