Indiana suspends Medicaid work requirement program due to lawsuit

Gavel and flag in courtroom
Indiana has suspended its work requirements program until a lawsuit challenging the program is concluded. Image: Getty/AlexStar

Indiana suspended its work requirement program for Medicaid due to a lawsuit challenging the legality of the program.

The Trump administration’s effort to encourage states to install work requirements for Medicaid expansion customers has run into a litany of legal defeats. Indiana’s program was set to start on Jan. 1, 2020.

Now, the program is on hold until the conclusion of the lawsuit, but the state remains “committed to operating the Gateway to Work program and continuing to build on the early successes of the program,” said Indiana Medicaid Director Allison Taylor in a statement Thursday.

But last month, Indiana residents filed a lawsuit against the program, charging that it will cause tens of thousands to lose coverage.

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The decision by Indiana to hold off comes as other legal challenges have stymied work requirement programs.

A federal judge struck down programs in Kentucky, New Hampshire and Arkansas. The judge ruled that the programs didn’t meet the objectives of the Medicaid program to expand coverage to low-income residents.

A panel of three appellate judges is considering an appeal from the Trump administration to the lawsuits against Kentucky and Arkansas. However, judges appeared skeptical of the administration’s arguments in favor of the program.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved similar work requirement waivers for Wisconsin, Utah, Ohio, Michigan and Arizona, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Another nine states have waivers pending before CMS for approval.

So far, Arkansas is the only state to have implemented work requirements, but the state saw 17,000 people lose coverage.