Nov 21, 2018

Kentucky's Medicaid work rules approved — again

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin swings a mallet at a campaign stop in 2014. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Trump administration last night re-approved Kentucky's proposal to add work requirements to its Medicaid program, with few changes from the original plan — even though that plan was struck down in court.

What's happened: Kentucky's initial proposal won federal approval in January. It required Medicaid recipients in the commonwealth to perform at least 80 hours of "community engagement" — work, job training or community service — per month.

  • In June, a federal judge blocked the new rules from taking effect, in response to a lawsuit that said work requirements are fundamentally at odds with Medicaid's purpose as a source of health coverage.
  • But the judge gave the Trump administration a chance to strengthen its justification for approving Kentucky's waiver proposal and try again.
  • In response, the federal Medicaid agency reopened the public comment period for Kentucky's plan.

The new comments were overwhelmingly opposed to Kentucky's work requirements, yet the federal government reapproved the same policy last night with essentially no changes.

By the numbers: Some 12,000 people have lost their Medicaid coverage already in Arkansas, the first state to successfully implement Medicaid work requirements — a sign that these policies are an effective way to curb overall Medicaid enrollment.

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Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse for mostly after curfews were in force in cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland — where police used pepper spray and flash bangs on a group throwing projectiles at them during an "unlawful assembly," per KATU. Portland police said this group was separate to the thousands of demonstrators who protested peacefully elsewhere in the city.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.