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President Trump with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Legal challenges aren't slowing down the Trump administration's push to reframe Medicaid as something closer to a welfare program.

Driving the news: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Friday approved Ohio's proposal to add work requirements to its Medicaid program.

  • Just a day earlier, Justice Department lawyers were back before the same federal judge who ruled against work requirements last year, urging him to let the policy move forward now.

Where it stands: CMS has approved work requirements for 8 states, 3 of which have begun enforcing those rules. Several more applications are still pending.

By the numbers: Ohio expects roughly 18,000 people to lose their Medicaid eligibility this year because of the new rules.

  • In Arkansas, the first state to begin enforcing its work requirements, 18,000 people lost their coverage in the first 6 months.

Those coverage losses are central to the lawsuits challenging these new rules.

  • Federal law says the process through which CMS is approving these waivers should be used for ideas that serve Medicaid's goals as a source of health care coverage.
  • Critics argue that work requirements don't advance Medicaid as a health care program, as evidenced by the fact that they cause so many people to lose their coverage.
  • Judge James Boasberg seemed inclined to agree with that argument last year when he put Kentucky's work requirements on ice, and echoed similar concerns again last week as he weighed fresh challenges to both Kentucky and Arkansas' rules. 

Go deeper: Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements are back in court

Go deeper

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.