Trump’s HHS Approves Wisconsin’s Legally Suspect Waiver Scheme

Trump’s HHS Approves Wisconsin’s Legally Suspect Waiver Scheme

State’s Waiver Package Would Impose Draconian Barriers to Coverage

Washington, D.C – Pushing its agenda to re-write Medicaid law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved Wisconsin’s Medicaid waiver package that includes additional hurdles to accessing Medicaid coverage.

National Health Law Program Legal Director Jane Perkins criticized the Trump administration for continuing its efforts to re-make Medicaid despite the federal court decision in Stewart v. Azar, which vacated and remanded to the federal agency a waiver project from Kentucky that would terminate coverage for tens of thousands of Kentuckians.

“The administration continues is efforts to restructure the Medicaid program,” Perkins said. “It appears the HHS Secretary has exceeded his statutory authority by approving Wisconsin’s waiver project that includes a work requirement and premiums tied to lock outs. The project will strip vital health care coverage from thousands of hard-working Wisconsinites.”

Regarding Wisconsin’s approach to Medicaid, National Health Law Program Senior Attorney Catherine McKee said

“Work requirements have been repeatedly studied in other federal programs like TANF and SNAP, and they do not increase stable employment or reduce poverty. Moreover, Congress designed Medicaid as a health coverage program – not a work program.”

National Health Law Program Health Policy Director Leonardo Cuello said Wisconsin’s Medicaid waiver plan, dubbed “BadgerCare,” veers wildly from sound health care policy.

“Premiums, lock-outs, and work requirements in Medicaid are draconian and make for callous and ultimately costly health care policy. And for what? To limit health care insurance to fewer people. That makes no sense if anyone is serious about improving health or reducing long term health care costs,” Cuello said. “Health care demands continuous converge; people cannot cease treatment of cancer or take a break from daily HIV therapy. It is cruel and medically unorthodox to deny access to health care to people who are not able to afford insurance for any reason. Wisconsin’s Medicaid waiver should not have been approved, it is bad health policy and outside the bounds of what HHS can waive.”

See the National Health Law Program’s comments to HHS urging it to reject Wisconsin’s waive plan.

Please contact Jeremy Leaming at leaming@healthlaw.org or Andrew DiAntonio at diantonio@healthlaw.org to speak with Perkins, McKee or Cuello for additional comments and resources.

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