So what now for Arkansas if this is true (which it surely is)? From Politico:
The Biden administration on Friday will notify states it plans to revoke Medicaid work requirements, starting the process of dismantling one of the Trump administration’s signature health policies.
The move is one of several steps that Biden’s health department is expected to take this week to unravel the contentious work rules long criticized by Democrats, according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO.
Arkansas is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court fighting to preserve the requirement that work or job training is required for able-bodied adults to receive coverage under the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. It was considered a politically important requirement in the Arkansas legislature’s continued support of the Medicaid expansion, which not only protected the health and lives of more than 300,000 Arkansans but also prevented the closure of rural hospitals.
Arkansas was one of several states that received a waiver. It’s unclear how quickly the Biden administration will enforce the change in policy. It presents a new wrinkle for Governor Hutchinson, who hopes to continue financial support of Medicaid expansion (for complicated reasons, it’s a financial windfall for Arkansas) but feels he needs to give ultra-right Republicans a pound of flesh out of poor people to justify the state’s small percentage contribution to comprehensive health care. (No such justification is required for millionaires’ tax cuts or protecting business from tax increases for the low and pitiful unemployment compensation in Arkansas.)
The Supreme Court will consider work rules in late March. The documents obtained by Politico say:
“CMS has serious concerns that now is not the appropriate time to test policies that risk a substantial loss of health care coverage or benefits in the near term,” according to a health department draft rollout plan entitled “Medicaid Work Requirement Rescission.”
Arkansas led the way in enacting a work rule. Thanks to it, 18,000 people, at least, lost health care coverage. The state’s bumfuzzled computer qualification screwed many more people. Deaths resulted. But legislators, many of them with no income but from legislative membership, say honest toil must be served.
Good riddance Seema Verma, the mean-spirited Trump Medicaid boss who Asa Hutchinson trotted out to extol his work rule.
Seeking comment from the governor.
In this legislature, the bottom line is a likely screwing for poor people. But perhaps I’m too pessimistic.