Georgia is suing the HHS over its withdrawal of the state’s authority to require work as a condition of Medicaid eligibility.
The Friday lawsuit comes around a month after the Department of Health and Human Services informed Georgia it won’t be able to impose work requirements on beneficiaries or charge premiums beyond those allowed in the Medicaid statute.
Medicaid work requirements were a policy priority under the Trump administration, which approved proposals to impose them on adult beneficiaries in 12 states. The HHS approved Georgia’s proposal in October 2020 as part of a broader plan to expand eligibility to include adults with incomes up to 100% of the federal poverty level.
But the Biden administration has been equally firm in rejecting work requirements as a violation of the Medicaid statute and a barrier to health-care coverage. Georgia was the last state to receive formal notification from the HHS that the department had withdrawn approval for the requirements.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) defended the Georgia proposal in a Friday statement as an innovative attempt to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income adults in the state while ensuring that they work or engage in job training, education, volunteering, or similar activities.
The result of the HHS action is expansion of Medicaid eligibility in Georgia without the eligibility conditions that lawmakers had incorporated into the program, he said.
“Simply put, the Biden administration is obstructing our ability to implement innovative healthcare solutions for more than 50,000 hardworking Georgia families rather than rely on a one-size-fits-none broken system,” Kemp said in the statement.
“They have attempted an unlawful regulatory bait and switch, and it is clear that their decision is not being driven by policy—rather politics—as they attempt to force their top-down agenda on the American people,” he said.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The case is Georgia v. Brooks-LaSure, S.D. Ga., complaint filed 1/21/22.