UPDATE – On April 18, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the D.C. Circuit’s opinions as moot and directed the lower courts to remand to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Biden Administration has withdrawn the Trump Administration’s work-requirement policies as inconsistent with the objectives of the Medicaid Act.
On February 24, 2021, the National Women’s Law Center, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and law firm Holland & Knight filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Plaintiffs-Respondents in Cochran v. Gresham et al., Cochran v. Philbrick et al., and Arkansas v. Gresham et al. (Nos. 20-37 and 20-38). NWLC and Lawyers’ Committee were joined by 50 additional organizations on this brief, including leading medical organizations such as the American Medical Association, major labor unions, and civil rights organizations.
These cases involve challenges to HHS’ approval of Medicaid demonstration projects in Arkansas and New Hampshire that impose work requirements as a condition for receiving Medicaid benefits, among other coverage changes. The circuit and district courts below held that HHS’ approval of the demonstration projects was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act because the agency failed to consider that the projects will result in a loss of health coverage, which is directly at odds with the principal purpose of the Medicaid Act.
In this brief, we argue that the Supreme Court should affirm the decisions below invalidating the projects. We highlight the devastating impact that these projects will have on women and people of color, including those who identify as LGBTQ, and those who live at the intersection of two or more of these identities. The brief focuses in particular on the harm these projects will cause to women of color. The brief explains that these impacted groups disproportionately rely upon Medicaid and are likely to lose health coverage under the Arkansas and New Hampshire projects, and that this loss of coverage will exacerbate existing health and economic disparities. The brief emphasizes that lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will simultaneously make it harder for individuals to satisfy work requirements while also compounding the health and economic consequences that will result from loss of health coverage