NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KFTA) — Arkansas’ work requirement for Medicaid recipients takes a blow in court this week but the battle might not be over yet. The case could make its way to the Supreme Court but for now the state’s appeal has been rejected and enrollees will not need to follow a work requirement to get Medicaid here in Arkansas.
A work requirement for Medicaid was first implemented back in 2018. It meant 19 to 49 year olds, who wanted Medicaid had to work at least 80 hours a month. Activities such as volunteering, school and job searching would also count in the hours.
According to court documents, while the law was in effect, more than 18,000 people lost their benefits for not meeting the requirement. In March of 2019, a district court judge placed a hold on work requirements. Arkansas appealed that decision and Friday the D.C. Circuit court voted to reject the state’s appeal. The courts called the work requirement unlawful.
NWA Director of the Arkansas advocates for children and families, Laura Kellams called the ruling a big victory for families. “It was just a really confusing requirement and it went against the intent of Medicaid and why it was put in place in the first place… which is to create a healthier population and make sure people have access to health coverage.”
State Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge ”we will be visiting with the department of justice and determining whether or not they will seek cert in this case, however nothing for Arkansans will be changed because of this decision.”
Arkansas was one of the first states to have a work requirement in place.