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Protestors in Kentucky who want the Affordable Care Act. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Kentucky’s plan to impose Medicaid work requirements is being re-challenged in court, after it was re-approved by the Trump administration this past November.

Flashback: Kentucky was the first state to win approval for Medicaid work requirements last year.

  • A federal judge stopped those rules from taking effect, saying the Health and Human Services Department hadn’t made a compelling enough case that work requirements align with Medicaid’s stated purpose.
  • In response, HHS reopened the window for public comments on Kentucky’s proposal, then quickly re-approved basically the same policy.

A new class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 16 Kentuckians says the re-approval is still illegal.

  • It accuses HHS of "working to effectively rewrite the Medicaid statute, ignoring congressional restrictions, overturning a half century of administrative practice, and threatening irreparable harm to the health and welfare of the poorest and most vulnerable in our country."

The big picture: Medicaid work requirements are arguably the most substantively significant piece of health policy the Trump administration has implemented.

  • The policy would substantially curb enrollment — Kentucky estimates more than 90,000 people would lose their coverage there — and help redefine a health care program as a form of welfare.

Go deeper: Kentucky's health care microcosm

Go deeper

Updated 10 mins ago - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

12 mins ago - World

Abbas announces first Palestinian elections in 15 years

Abbas is 85 and in the 15th year of a 4-year term. Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published a decree on Friday announcing the dates for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: This is the first time in 15 years that such a decree has been published. The last presidential elections took place in 2005, with Abbas winning, and the last parliamentary elections took place in 2006, with Hamas winning.

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — America has tuned out the coronavirus at the peak of its destruction — 1 in 3 people in L.A. County believed to have been infected with coronavirus.
  2. Politics: Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan— Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat — Joe Biden will seek nearly $2 trillion in COVID relief spending.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.