NCLEJ Sues Trump HHS, Alleging Improper Use of Authority to Approve New Hampshire’s Medicaid Work Requirements

Today, NCLEJ filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of low-income New Hampshire residents who depend on Medicaid to access critical health care services. The case challenges the Trump administration’s approval of New Hampshire’s “Granite Advantage” Section 1115 waiver project, which conditions Medicaid coverage on work requirements and eliminates retroactive coverage.

According to the Medicaid Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may only approve Medicaid waiver projects that help furnish medical assistance to individuals who otherwise would not be able to afford medical care. However, HHS abused its discretion and approved a waiver that would essentially take coverage away from New Hampshire residents who cannot meet and/or report 100 hours of qualified work-related activities every month.

Furthermore, these draconian work rules will not lift individuals out of poverty, but rather reduce access to health care and result in numerous coverage losses. The waiver project requires New Hampshire residents who currently receive Medicaid benefits, many of whom are already working or should be exempt from working, to undertake the onerous process of reporting monthly work hours or applying for an exemption from the work rule. The burdensome paperwork will cut coverage from the most vulnerable individuals and families in the state, and disproportionately affect low-income persons living with disabilities and/or chronic health conditions.

This suit is the third to challenge a state Medicaid waiver plan with work requirements approved by HHS. Legal challenges to waivers in Kentucky and Arkansas are already underway. In Arkansas, where the work requirement has been in effect since June last year, over 18,000 people have already lost their Medicaid coverage for failure to comply with the new rules.

NCLEJ Senior Attorney Travis England and Equal Justice Works Fellow Jen Rasay (Sponsored by Faber Daeufer & Itrato PC) are working on the case with co-counsel, the National Health Law Program and New Hampshire Legal Assistance.

Read the press release here.