Aug 20, 2018

Court rejects Kentucky governor's Medicaid lawsuit

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin cannot sue the Kentuckians who are trying to stop him from adding work requirements to the state's Medicaid program, a federal court said today.

The big picture: Bevin's latest loss is not a surprise. But it compounds the setback of an earlier ruling, from a separate court, against his proposed work requirements.

The intrigue: A group of 16 Kentuckians sued the federal Health and Human Services Department for approving Kentucky's plan for work requirements, saying it violates Medicaid's stated purpose.

  • They won the first round of that challenge. A judge in Washington, D.C. blocked Kentucky's rules from taking effect at the end of June.
  • In addition to intervening in that case, Bevin also took the unusual step of countersuing those same constituents.
  • A federal court in Kentucky dismissed Bevin's countersuit today.

Between the lines: Bevin's countersuit was always a long shot, but if had worked, it could have moved the dispute over work requirements into a more conservative court. The litigation will instead remain before Judge James Boasberg — the judge who blocked the new rules earlier this summer.

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