U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Cases on Medicaid Requirement to Work

June 01, 2022 by Alec Stone MA, MPA, Former ONS Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy

A pandemic is not the time to experiment with Medicaid work requirements, the Biden-Harris administration maintained in April 2022 when it urged officials in Arkansas and New Hampshire to cancel their U.S. Supreme Court hearing appeals regarding the Trump administration orders and send the matter back to (https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2021/biden-administration-begins-process-rolling-back-approval-medicaid-work-experiments) the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for further action.

The Biden-Harris administration began repealing (https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2021/biden-administration-begins-process-rolling-back-approval-medicaid-work-experiments) the Section 1115 waivers in February 2022 with letters to several states, including Arkansas and New Hampshire, that documented risks from the experimental requirements, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. New Hampshire did not respond and Arkansas objected, and both states brought their cases to the Supreme Court for intervention.

At the end of April 2022, the Supreme Court “terminated both cases with directions back to the lower courts to wipe the rulings from their records—saying that the cases are moot (https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/041822zor_19m2.pdf) because HHS, under Biden-Harris administration directives, revoked the states’ prior approvals to test these work requirement programs,” Amy O’Neill, an attorney with King and Spalding in Atlanta, GA, said (https://www.jdsupra.com/profile/king_spalding_docs/).

Equal access to care (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/access-quality-cancer) for all individuals is one of ONS’s advocacy priorities, and expanding (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/cms-expands-eligibility-criteria-for-lung-cancer-screening-with-low-dose-computed) Medicaid eligibility helps ensure that more patients, regardless of financial status or barriers to care, receive quality treatment without financial concerns and burdens during their treatment journeys. You can get involved in ONS’s Center for Advocacy and Health Policy (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/access-quality-cancer) to promote the expansion of Medicaid eligibility requirements.

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