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Appeals Court Strikes Down Ark. Medicaid Work Requirements

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a Feb. 14 decision affirming a lower court’s invalidation of work requirements as condition of Medicaid eligibility in Arkansas.

In the unanimous decision, the appeals court found the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’) approval of Arkansas’ Section 1115 demonstration waiver incorporating work requirements to be arbitrary and capricious. The appeals court noted that HHS failed to assess the potential impact of work requirements on coverage and to adequately consider concerns about coverage loss raised during public comment periods.

Last year, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia invalidated Arkansas and Kentucky’s demonstration waivers incorporating work requirements, halting implementation and enforcement.

Kentucky since has rescinded its demonstration waiver and moved for its case to be dismissed by the court after the November 2019 election of Gov. Andy Beshear (D).

It is unknown at this time if HHS and Arkansas will appeal this decision.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Zina Gontscharow is a former senior policy analyst for America's Essential Hospitals.

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