Pay attention because this has relevance in Arkansas. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says that if a lawsuit strikes down the state’s requirement of work to receive Medicaid health coverage he’ll end the program, throwing 500,000 people off insurance. What would Asa do in a similar situation?
Kentucky was the first to announce a work rule and the first to be sued, though Arkansas beat all the states in getting a requirement in place. Arkansas’s work rules for Medicaid expansion just took effect. No lawsuit has been filed, but one is being contemplated. Certainly, a ruling adverse to adding conditions that make it harder to be covered by Medicaid would have an impact in Arkansas.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson brushed up his conservative credentials by adding a work rule for many (not all) Medicaid recipients. He also added a brutish rule requiring sign-up and regular reporting by computer in a state with pitiful broadband access, particularly among the poor most likely to need Medicaid. Most of those covered DO work, though they’re not always able to count on the sustained employment necessary to qualify for health insurance under the new rules.
Benji Hardy examines the new Arkansas work rules in the Times’ cover story this week. He notes that Arkansas’s rules are a little looser than those in Kentucky, though the vagaries are, in themselves, something of a problem. No discussion yet from Gov. Hutchison on what he’d do should work rules be found illegal. Some 280,000 Arkansans are in the Medicaid expansion program. Would he strip them all if the state can’t apply the work rule?