The federal government is asking the court to quash the challenge to Medicaid’s job requirements – SCOTUSblog


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A drawing of a black-haired woman on the podium with four judges in the background

Elizabeth Prilogar, the acting attorney general under President Joe Biden, speaks in court during 2016 (Art Lien)

Ministry of Justice Request from the Supreme Court Monday to cancel next month’s argument over the legality of Medicaid’s work requirements – a policy that former President Donald Trump has promoted but which the Biden administration is now backing away from. However, one state seeking to implement the policy quickly opposed the federal government’s request, telling judges that the dispute was not moot and should be heard.

If the judges agree to the request, this will be the third dispute in which the term is struck off the court’s agenda as a result of a policy change by the new administration. Earlier this month, the court He canceled the arguments about two immigration issues Trump How to finance its border wall He is A “stay in Mexico” policy for people seeking asylum After President Joe Biden abandoned the policies under appeal.

Likewise, top health officials in Biden have begun to dissolve a controversial healthcare initiative that has encouraged states to require some Medicaid recipients to act as a condition for maintaining their health coverage. Among the states that received approval from the Trump administration to enforce labor requirements were Arkansas and New Hampshire, but a district judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declared these approvals illegal after it was found that they would undermine the purpose of Medicaid. The program that provides insurance to 77 million Americans.

The Trump administration and the two countries asked the Supreme Court to review the case, and in December, they asked the judges He agreed to do so In a pair of compact cases, now known as Cochrane vs. Gresham And the Arkansas v. Gresham. The Trump administration provided a file Brief Defend job requirements for Medicaid on January 19, the day before Trump leaves office. The oral case is scheduled to take place on March 29.

Biden’s acting attorney, Elizabeth Prilogar, told judges in a seven-page motion Monday, that this argument is no longer necessary. Prilogar wrote that the Biden administration “tentatively determined” that business requirements did not serve Medicaid’s goals. The Department of Health and Human Services has already canceled a letter from the Trump era clarifying the legal justifications for the policy, and has notified countries that it may withdraw country-specific approvals. Moreover, Prilogar noted, this policy, at least for now, is practically no longer in place. This is partly due to the COVID-19 relief bill in which states received additional Medicaid funding if they refrain from imposing any new eligibility restrictions in the Safety Net program. Every state in the country took the deal.

In light of what she described as “dramatically changed circumstances,” Prilogar asked the judges to cancel the case and cancel the two DC circuit judgments that are under review in the Supreme Court. Prilogar said the cases should be returned to HHS so agency officials can reassess the Arkansas and New Hampshire proposals.

Medicaid recipients who challenge the legality of the business requirements approved the Department of Justice’s request. Prilogar told judges that New Hampshire was “taking no position” on the request.

Arkansas, however, provided a Brief Monday evening opposing the request. The state indicated that the Biden administration had not formally rescinded its Medicaid allowance policy – it only made a “preliminary” ruling that the policy was improper.

“Initial proposals to abolish the agency’s actions do not discuss challenges or defenses,” Arkansas said in its summary.

The state has argued that the dispute remains a lively debate and continues to raise an important legal issue for the Supreme Court to resolve: namely, the scope of the federal government’s authority to allow states to enact experimental Medicaid policies.


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