Gov. Matt Bevin has filed a lawsuit in response to a legal challenge over Kentucky’s new Medicaid work requirement.
Kentucky is the first state in the country to require people to work or volunteer in order to keep Medicaid benefits.
Three advocacy groups are suing the federal government on behalf of 15 Kentuckians who are on Medicaid, saying the approval of Bevin’s Medicaid changes violate the Social Security Act.
The Bevin administration’s lawsuit seeks to add the state as a party to the lawsuit, saying Kentucky should be able to defend the Medicaid changes as constitutional.
In a statement, Bevin’s general counsel Steve Pitt said the state should have a voice in resolving the dispute.
“We believe that Kentucky HEALTH has the potential to positively affect the lives of many Kentuckians, and we cannot sit idly by while the Commonwealth’s plan is debated in an out-of-state courtroom,” Pitt said.
“A Kentucky court, with the full participation of the Commonwealth, should decide this vital issue. We have complete confidence that Kentucky HEALTH will be upheld and will serve as a successful national model.”
Approved last month, Bevin’s Medicaid changes will require about 531,000 Kentuckians to prove they are working or volunteering in order to keep benefits, according to an estimate from the Urban Institute.
Many recipients will also have to pay monthly premiums to receive coverage and dental and vision benefits will no longer be automatically provided.
The changes will take full effect July 1.
Bevin said he will take away Medicaid expansion coverage from about half a million Kentuckians if a court blocks any of the approved changes.
About 1.4 million Kentuckians are covered by Medicaid, and about one-third will be affected by the changes.