Georgia sues Biden administration for denying Medicaid

Georgia sued the Biden administration on Friday over its decision to rescind approval of the state’s work requirement to expand Medicaid to more low-income Georgians.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Brunswick, Georgia, called last month’s decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services an “unprecedented bait and turn” that was illegal and arbitrary. It sought a court order to restore the original plan and work requirements.

“In short, a Biden administration is hindering our ability to implement innovative health care solutions for more than 50,000 hardworking Georgia families, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all broken system,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Brian, Republican Brian Kemp said in a statement. A press release announcing the lawsuit.

He accused the administration of the Democratic president of playing politics.

CMS said it would not comment on the lawsuit.

The job request was approved by then-President Donald Trump’s administration, but CMS announced last month that it was withdrawing approval of the program and a related Georgia proposal to give some Medicaid recipients every Monthly medical insurance premiums.

“This case is about whether the federal government must keep its promises,” the lawsuit said.

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a letter to the state that during the pandemic, people may not be able to meet work requirements, and access to health insurance for low-income Georgians is critical. The Kemp government said at the time that it planned to challenge the decision in court.

Republicans are pitching Georgia’s plan as an economically responsible alternative to fully expanding Medicaid services under the Affordable Care Act, which 38 states have already done. The program seeks to enroll approximately 50,000 poor and uninsured Georgia residents on Medicaid for the first two years. But to be eligible, new Medicaid recipients must participate in a minimum number of qualifying hours through work, job training, education, volunteering or other similar activities.

Democrats in Georgia say a full expansion would cover hundreds of thousands of people at a much lower cost. That’s because the ACA, a health care law signed by President Barack Obama, allows states to choose to expand Medicaid to low-income adults who make up 138 percent of the federal poverty line, with the federal government covering 90 percent of the cost. More than 10 million people in the United States were reported this way.

Camp has said a full expansion would cost the state too much money in the long run.

The Biden administration is separately reviewing Georgia’s plan to overhaul residents’ health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. The plan — under which Georgia residents would bypass and buy federally subsidized health insurance through a private agent — was also approved by the Trump administration.

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