Judge reinstates work requirement in Georgia Medicaid plan
ATLANTA (AP) — In a victory for Georgia's Republican governor, a federal judge on Friday reinstated a work requirement in the state's plan to expand Medicaid coverage to more low-income residents.
U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said the Biden administration's decision to revoke approval of the work requirement and a related Georgia proposal to charge some Medicaid recipients monthly premiums was “arbitrary and capricious on numerous, independent grounds.”
She called the revocation “unlawful” and set it aside.
The work requirement was approved by then-President Donald Trump’s administration, but the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Centers announced last month that it was revoking approval of that part of the plan and the premium requirement.
An email after hours to CMS was not immediately returned.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp — who proposed the Medicaid plan at issue — hailed the ruling, saying in a Tweet that his plan would “better serve Georgians than a one-size-fits all Medicaid expansion.”
CMS had argued the work requirement could be impossible for people to meet during the pandemic, when it was critical that low-income Georgians have access to health coverage.
Wood said the agency failed to consider or weigh the possibility that rescinding approval would “mean less Medicaid coverage in Georgia.”
She also said CMS wrongly measured the Georgia plan against a full Medicaid expansion and “failed to explain why it changed its mind about the key issues underlying the approval.”
Republicans had presented Georgia’s plan as a financially responsible alternative to a full expansion of Medicaid services under the Affordable Care Act, which dozens of states have already done.
The plan sought to add an...