Not long ago I wrote an article advising that the best way to combat Trump was to sue his ass off in federal court at every opportunity. I expressed that opinion not simply because His Lowness is the most vindictive, ignorant, incompetent boob to ever befoul the White House, but also because the people actually writing his racist and vindictive Executive Orders were so stunningly incompetent in managing to mask the true intent of his imperious edicts while writing them.
Well, here we go again. Kentucky is one of nine states plotting and scheming to kick more poor people off of government assisted healthcare by instituting insidious “work requirements” in order for people to qualify for federal Medicaid programs. Kentucky was the first to sprint across the finish line condemn its own citizens to pain, misery and possibly even a premature death. And like a Pavlovian dog, racing to the food bowl when the bell rings, the Trump administration ran like hell to the nearest camera and microphone, or lacking that the nearest Android keypad to laud the courage of Kentucky lawmakers in taking this strong stand against government waste in caring for poor sick people. They gave it a 5 star rating, and their full blessing.
Whoa there Seabiscuit, not so fast. The sound bites from the Trump administration had not even completed their mandatory profanity sound checks for airtime when the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) issued a statement promising to dump a bucket of legal shit all over the work requirement head. As reported in The Hill;
While NHeLP is “still reviewing” the approval’s details, “the action appears designed to achieve significant cuts in Medicaid enrollment rather than Medicaid’s stated purpose of furnishing medical assistance to low-income people,” Jane Perkins, the group’s legal director, said in a statement.
The legal argument appears to be that Medicaid is a federal program. The Congress created the qualification standards when they crafted the bill. The Medicaid funding is federal tax dollars, individual states cannot autocratically decide what requirements people in the state must meet to qualify, the law has already done that. In other words, either take the money and run, or leave it on the table.
If this sounds vaguely familiar to you, it should. The GOP has railed for years that President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Executive Order was Presidential overreach. The claim was that the President did not have the authority to interpret the intent of federal law, only to administer it. And now Trump and his merry band of freebooters wants to allow individual states to interpret the intent of the requirements already codified in the Medicaid law as who tho can qualify for the funding.
The US Supreme Court has already ruled on a similar, but not identical issue. The Affordable Care Act attempted to require all states to expand the eligibility to Medicaid for residents in the state, in return for more cash to cover the cost. The court ruled that the government could not force states to take the money. But it did not allow states to automatically accept the additional funding and spend it as it pleased. They could either take the money and expand Medicaid under the law, or they could refuse to expand, and in the process lose the additional funding, the court would not allow them to split the loaf.
My personal opinion is that the states are going to lost this particular pissing contest, just as they will lose on the sanctuary city lawsuit. But you have to admit, you need a pair of solar eclipse sunglasses to protect you from the glare of cluelessness going on around the GOP. First, they tell a Democratic President that you can’t fuck with the law for your own personal agenda, and then they want to turn around and fuck with another law for their own personal agenda. Wadda way to run a railroad.