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As Thousands Lose Coverage, Judge Blocks 'Inhumane' Medicaid Work Requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky

"All along this was a scheme to take away people's healthcare, nothing more."

Jane Perkins, legal director of the National Health Law Program, said it is "nonsensical and illegal to add obstacles to Medicaid for large groups of individuals who are already working, or full-time healthcare providers for family members, or suffering chronic health matters." (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)

A federal judge Wednesday blocked Trump-approved Medicaid work requirements in Kentucky and Arkansas, where the punitive rules have already caused immense suffering and stripped healthcare from thousands of low-income Americans.

"Putting restrictions on anyone's healthcare is inhumane. And the racist intent of work requirements for Medicaid should be apparent. Let's make healthcare a right for everyone."
—Chuck Idelson, National Nurses United

"Putting restrictions on anyone's healthcare is inhumane. And the racist intent of work requirements for Medicaid should be apparent. Let's make healthcare a right for everyone," wrote Chuck Idelson of National Nurses United.

In his twin rulings, Judge James E. Boasberg found that the Trump administration failed to adequately consider the coverage losses that would result from imposing work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

Jane Perkins, legal director of the National Health Law Program, said it is "nonsensical and illegal to add obstacles to Medicaid for large groups of individuals who are already working, or full-time healthcare providers for family members, or suffering chronic health matters."

"Work should not be a key to healthcare access," Perkins added.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) tweeted: "All along this was a scheme to take away people's healthcare, nothing more."

The judge's ruling comes as reports of the devastating consequences of Medicaid work requirements continue to emerge.

In Arkansas alone, more than 18,000 people lost Medicaid coverage in 2018 due to the state's new work requirements.

"This cruel, stupid, vindictive idea is working out just as awfully as you would imagine," Splinter's Hamilton Nolan wrote Wednesday.

Undeterred by court rulings, the Trump administration is continuing to "aggressively" push work requirements in several other states, including New Hampshire, noted Politico healthcare reporter Alice Miranda Ollstein.

"If the Trump administration really believed in healthcare," tweeted advocacy group Protect Our Care, "they would learn their lesson and abandon their war on the healthcare of millions of Americans."

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