Biden admin rescinds approval for Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas, New Hampshire

The Biden administration this week informed Medicaid officials in Arkansas and New Hampshire that it will pull back approval for their work requirements programs.

In its letter (PDF) to Arkansas state leaders, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said it was concerned about the potential coverage losses due to the work requirements, which the agency said would go against the goals of Medicaid.

In addition, the CMS said the early rollout of Arkansas' work requirements showed the state did not establish the necessary infrastructure to ensure enrollees were aware of the requirements and to process ongoing monitoring.

"In light of these concerns, for the reasons set forth below, CMS has determined that, on balance, the authorities that permit Arkansas to require work and community engagement as a condition of eligibility are not likely to promote the objectives of the Medicaid statute," the CMS wrote. "Therefore, we are withdrawing the community engagement authorities."

RELATED: Verma doubles down on supporting Medicaid work requirements as enrollment swells

The CMS said its decision to rescind approvals would take effect in 30 days. The news was first reported by Politico.

The letters come on the heels of the Supreme Court's decision earlier this month to pull the legal case challenging work requirements off of its docket following a request from the Biden administration to nix the case.

Allowing states to implement work requirements in Medicaid was a central effort for the CMS under the Trump administration, though the courts have questioned whether such programs are designed to meet the core goal of Medicaid: to offer coverage to low-income people.

In its letter (PDF) to New Hampshire officials, the CMS raised similar concerns.

"CMS is not aware of any reason to expect that the community engagement requirement as a condition of eligibility in New Hampshire’s Medicaid demonstration project would have a different outcome in the future than what was observed during the initial implementation of such a requirement in other states," the agency said.