Mar 28, 2019

Why Trump's Medicaid work requirements lost

Of all the policies the Health and Human Services Department has actually finalized under President Trump, it's hard to think of a more significant rightward turn than the approval of Medicaid work requirements.

Driving the news: Judge James Boasberg is still not having it. He ruled against Kentucky's work requirements yesterday for the second time, citing many of the same reasons from his first opinion — namely, that HHS is not living up to Medicaid's legally defined purpose as a health care program.

  • He noted Kentucky and HHS' acknowledgements that fewer people will have Medicaid coverage as a result of these rules, and also criticized Gov. Matt Bevin for threatening to pull out of the expansion entirely if HHS loses this lawsuit.
  • "The Court cannot concur that the Medicaid Act leaves the Secretary so unconstrained, nor that the states are so armed to refashion the program Congress designed in any way they choose," Boasberg wrote.

Arkansas didn't fare much better, though that case is still earlier in the process than Kentucky's.

  • Boasberg began his Arkansas opinion with the story of a resident who does work, but didn't know he needed to report his compliance with the state's work requirements every month, and therefore lost his Medicaid coverage, got sick, and lost his job.
  • That's a clear sign, the ruling argues, that HHS didn't give sufficient weight to work requirements' burden on Medicaid's objectives as a source of health coverage.

What's next: New Hampshire's work requirements are also being challenged in court.

Go deeper: Medicaid work requirements aren't boosting work in Arkansas

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know so far

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Milwaukee Molson Coors brewery complex on Wednesday, including the shooter, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

What's happening: Police said "there is no active threat" just before 6 pm ET, but noted the scene remains active. Police chief Alfonso Morales told reporters that officers have "more than 20 buildings we have to secure" at the complex and they do not currently have all employees accounted for, as more than 1,000 were at the complex during the shooting.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Live updates: CDC confirms possible community spread of coronavirus

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

U.S. clinicians have found the novel coronavirus in a person who did not recently return from a foreign country nor have contact with a confirmed case, the CDC said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 25 mins ago - Health

Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

The big picture: In the wake of a market sell-off and warnings from health officials that there's a real threat of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., Trump sought to reassure the nation and Wall Street that the U.S. is "ready" for whatever comes next.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy