In a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Frankfort, Kentucky, Bevin asks the court to find that Kentucky HEALTH, the state’s Medicaid waiver program, does not violate the Social Security and Administrative Procedure acts, or the U.S. Constitution.
It’s a countersuit to the complaint filed last month by the Kentucky activists against the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The named plaintiffs, who range in age from 20 to 62 and rely on Medicaid, argue that they would be unable to comply with the new work and premium contribution requirements under the waiver, thereby jeopardizing their health coverage under the federal safety-net program. Thomas Perrelli and Ian Gershengorn, prominent Jenner & Block partners, represent the 16 Kentucky residents on behalf of advocacy groups National Health Law Program, Kentucky Equal Justice Center and Southern Poverty Law Center. They could not be reached for comment on Friday about Bevin’s countersuit.
Jane Perkins, legal director of the National Health Law Program, described Bevins’ countersuit in an email message as “bizarre and bullying.”
“The governor is using taxpayer money to sue his own residents … for exercising their legal rights. Our clients are simply trying to preserve their access to an efficient and effective Medicaid program,” she wrote.
“The plaintiffs sued in DC because that is where the Trump administration made the decisions to fundamentally alter Medicaid in Kentucky and nationwide. The claims in the case are only against federal officials and federal agencies, not the state of Kentucky or the governor of Kentucky.”
Approved last month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver effectively imposes a requirement that able-bodied Medicaid recipients aged 19 to 64 participate in 80 hours per month of employment or “community engagement” activities such as jobs training. In addition, the program imposes a monthly premium based on household income.