Three organizations representing 15 Kentucky Medicaid recipients filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Thursday against the Trump administration, Department of Health and Human Services [official website], Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and others over approval of numerous section 1115 waivers in Kentucky to change the way that Medicaid functions in the state.
Plaintiffs, the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), along with the Kentucky Equal Justice Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center [advocacy websites], argue that the approvals violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Social Security Act (including the Medicaid Act) and the US Constitution, and that it will gravely harm hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.
“Through imposition of premiums and cost sharing, ‘lockouts,’ benefits cuts, and a work requirement, the waiver will radically reshape Medicaid in a manner that, by the State’s own admission, will result in substantial reductions in coverage,” said the complaint.
The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website], argues that the change will harm Kentuckians across the state and across industries who need a range of health services, including check-ups, diabetes treatment, mental health services, blood pressure monitoring and treatment, and vision and dental care.
“Reversing decades of agency guidance,” the complaint states, the US Department of Health and Human Services “issued a letter to State Medicaid Directors announcing CMS’s intention to, for the first time, approve waiver applications containing work requirements and outlining ‘guidelines’ for states to consider in submitting such applications.”