Clifford E. Barnes, Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, and New York offices, was quoted in Bloomberg Health Law & Business, in “High Court Case Forces Quick Biden Action on Medicaid Work Rules,” by Christopher Brown. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

The Supreme Court’s decision to weigh in on the legality of Medicaid work requirements puts pressure on the Biden administration to promptly develop strategies aimed at rolling back state plans that have already gotten approval.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to reverse course on approving state requirements that Medicaid enrollees work, volunteer, or go to school as a condition of coverage—a central policy priority of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services within HHS under President Donald Trump.

But high court review of such requirements in Arkansas and New Hampshire imposes a deadline for the Biden administration to sort through its legal options and develop arguments for a change in policy. Opponents of work requirements see them as detrimental to low-income people already struggling during the pandemic.

Rejecting Waivers …

But rejecting waivers that were already approved will be tricky, he said. That’s because those waivers were approved on the basis of guidance issued by the HHS in 2018. …

Instead of withdrawing waivers, the new CMS could negotiate with states over ways to structure their Medicaid work programs so that enrollees don’t risk being removed for noncompliance, said Clifford E. Barnes, a member with Epstein Becker Green in Washington and co-chair of the firm’s health plan compliance group.

“You could rewrite these waivers so that you meld the two goals—work and health insurance—instead of having one at the expense of the other,” he said. “You’d want to see work and community engagement that promotes insurance, not that removes it.”

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