A Mean-Spirited State Government

There’s a new trend among state governments around the country that’s been inspired by the new, mean spirit of the federal government:  states are starting to impose work requirements on their Medicaid population.  If you want to receive Medicaid benefits, you have to work a certain number of hours a month.

In states where such a requirement has been adopted, it doesn’t apply to all Medicaid recipients.  It doesn’t apply, for example, to children.  Or the disabled.  Or elderly Medicaid recipients who are also on Medicare.  Or to people who are already working but have jobs that don’t provide health insurance and who make so little money that it’s not reasonable to expect them to be able to afford health insurance.

That leaves people who are somewhat recently unemployed.  They lost their jobs, for whatever reason, and that’s why they signed up for Medicaid.  There’s no reason to believe these people are avoiding work, so the state wants to make sure they work in exchange for their Medicaid benefits.

The Curmudgeon doesn’t agree, but he understands this – though he wishes the state governments that do this would understand that most of these people used to work and would work again if they could find jobs, in which case they wouldn’t need Medicaid at all.

But that’s not what’s got The Curmudgeon’s knickers in a bunch today.

The idea of a Medicaid work requirement is fairly new, and when the state of Kentucky announced its new requirement, someone did what someone always does when government introduces a new policy:  they sued.

And won.

A federal judge called the new policy “”arbitrary and capricious” and told the federal government, whose permission was necessary to implement such a policy, to reconsider that permission in the light of certain concerns that the judge specified in his decision.

So how did the state of Kentucky respond?

It cut off dental and vision benefits for nearly 500,000 Medicaid recipients in the state.

Effective immediately.

That’ll show the judge – and all those Medicaid freeloaders:  hell hath no fury like the state of Kentucky scorned.  The folks who run that state are some pretty heartless and mean-spirited people.

 

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