Washington, D.C.,—Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should not have approved work requirements and other barriers to eligibility for Medicaid as part of a request from the state of Arkansas. The Court said HHS did not adequately consider how the proposed Medicaid work rules and other eligibility changes would affect residents’ access to health care, as required under federal law, and approval of such requirements was ‘arbitrary and capricious.’
A statement from Keysha Brooks-Coley, vice president of federal advocacy for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:
“We are pleased to see the Court has reaffirmed Medicaid’s core objective as providing health coverage without additional obstacles, like work requirements. Preserving access to Medicaid, is essential to ensuring cancer patients and those with other serious diseases can get the care they need.
“More than 2.3 million Americans with a history of cancer and millions more who are at risk for the disease rely on Medicaid for their health care. The program enables patients to get timely cancer screenings, appropriate cancer treatment and long-term follow-up care. As cancer treatment can sometimes be debilitating, patients often find themselves unable to work or are advised not to by their physicians. Meeting reporting requirements or maintaining work to keep their Medicaid coverage could be overly challenging for cancer patients and survivors due to ongoing symptom management and could result in worse health outcomes.
“We hope HHS and state lawmakers will reconsider their approach to work requirements moving forward and we stand ready to help states expand access to quality health care wherever possible.”