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Federal court strikes down Michigan's Medicaid work requirement

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A federal court has struck down Michigan’s requirement that adults enrolled in the Healthy Michigan plan must be working or in school.

The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said the Medicaid expansion is to ensure health care for low-income people, not a jobs program.

The ruling came down as the state was preparing to send notices next week to 80,000 people warning them that their benefits are at risk. Whitmer says she’ll be glad not to send them.

“And I’m grateful that a decision came in such a timely way so that we haven’t created a lot of unnecessary anxiety and waste of taxpayer dollars,” she said.

Stateside talked to Nicholas Bagley about the ruling striking down Medicaid work requirements. Bagley is a University of Michigan law professor who specializes in health and administrative law. Hear that conversation above.

Whitmer had asked the court for an expedited ruling following a similar ruling in a challenge to Arkansas’ work requirements.

But Republicans say Whitmer should not move too quickly to un-do the work requirement.

“It’s all right to put it in neutral. I just wouldn’t put it in reverse,” said state Senator Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford), who chairs the Senate human services budget subcommittee.

MacGregor says the decision will probably be appealed and he wants to wait until a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

“So, until the Supreme Court makes a final decision – we have no idea what they’re gonna do – we’ve got to kind of remain kind of vigilant because we could go one of two ways: completely stop it or continue forward,” he said.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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