A federal judge Friday voided the Department of Health and Human Services’ approval of a Kentucky Medicaid demonstration waiver that would require some adult beneficiaries to work or participate in other “community engagement” activities, such as job training or community service, to remain eligible for coverage. “Although the Secretary is afforded significant deference in his approval of pilot projects like Kentucky’s, his discretion does not insulate him entirely from judicial review,” wrote U.S. District Judge James Boasberg. “Such review reveals that the Secretary never adequately considered whether Kentucky HEALTH would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid. This signal omission renders his determination arbitrary and capricious. The Court, consequently, will vacate the approval of Kentucky’s project and remand the matter to HHS for further review.” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said the agency is “conferring with the Department of Justice to chart a path forward.”

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