Quietly, the Biden administration has undone one of Trump’s cruelty-is-the-point legacies:
On Thursday, the administration rejected Georgia’s proposal to impose work requirements and premiums on Medicaid recipients. This was effectively the last nail in the coffin of Trump’s zombie attempt to make Medicaid more cumbersome and bureaucratic, in hopes of knocking as many people off health coverage as possible.
When Biden took office, nearly 20 mostly Republican-controlled states were in the process of crafting work requirements for Medicaid, on which 76 million Americans rely.
Now, Medicaid work requirements are all but dead in all those states.
That erases a legacy of the Trump administration, which had invited states to submit proposals to impose such requirements. Proposals were eventually approved for 12 states — all with Republican legislatures, governors or both — while a half-dozen others were pending when Trump left office.
In the most visible case, under Arkansas’s 2018 requirements, nearly 17,000 people lost health coverage. That wasn’t necessarily because they weren’t working. It was mainly because it was so difficult to satisfy all the reporting requirements.
This is a substantial victory, although I’m sure Neil Gorsuch’s clerks are already figuring out an argument for why this violates the equal sovereign dignitude of the states or something.