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News & Press: Health Care

Gov. Whitmer pleased with federal court ruling that preserves health care coverage for tens of thous

Thursday, March 5, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Algeria Wilson
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

March 3, 2020  

Contact: Bob Wheaton, MDHHS, wheatonb@michigan.gov, (517) 241-2112

 

Gov. Whitmer pleased with federal court ruling that preserves health care coverage for tens of thousands 

Ruling throws out Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements

 

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is praising a federal court judge’s ruling today that found Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements unlawful. 

 

The ruling came just days after the Whitmer administration filed a motion asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a quick decision. 

 

“I am pleased that the court has taken action that will help Michigan provide affordable, high-quality access to health care,” Whitmer said. “This is great news for Michiganders, although it is not surprising given a previous federal court decision regarding Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas. While it’s unfortunate that Republicans in the Legislature created confusion and wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars by pressing forward with implementation of requirements that were clearly going to be thrown out by the courts, I look forward to working with the Legislature on a better way to promote work while protecting coverage.” 

 

Whitmer asked the Legislature to pause work requirements on Dec. 3, 2019, after an oral argument before a federal court of appeals, where the judges expressed deep skepticism about similar work requirements in Arkansas. When legislators did not do so, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) was required to mail 238,000 notices to individuals subject to reporting their work activities and continued with implementation at a cost of approximately $1 million a month.  

  

The federal court of appeals ruled Friday, Feb. 14 in the Arkansas case, striking down the work requirements. After that ruling, the governor again asked the Legislature to pause work requirements and the state asked for a summary judgment applying the court of appeals ruling in the Arkansas case to Michigan. The U.S. Department of Justice, led by Attorney General William Barr, did not oppose the state’s motion. 

  

“MDHHS has spent more than $30 million implementing requirements that created anxiety and churn for Healthy Michigan Plan enrollees and have now been deemed unlawful,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We look forward to returning our team members’ focus to work that improves the health and wellbeing of Michiganders.” 

  

The work requirements had taken effect in January. Prior to the court ruling, an estimated 80,000 people were at risk of losing their health care coverage because they had not reported work activities that met the requirements. MDHHS will now notify those individuals that they no longer have to report their work activities. 

  

“We are grateful for Judge Boasberg’s swift decision today, which will ensure that Michigan won’t be throwing away taxpayer money to enforce unlawful requirements and cause confusion and concern for tens of thousands of Michigan beneficiaries whose health care coverage was in limbo,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. 

  

More than 650,000 receive coverage under the Healthy Michigan Plan, the state’s highly successful Medicaid expansion that had bipartisan support. 

  


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