FTLF Files Amicus Brief in New Hampshire Medicaid Work Requirements Case

By Published On: May 23, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC (May 23, 2019) – Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP (FTLF) is proud to have authored a new amicus brief in support of Medicaid beneficiaries in Philbrick, et al. v. Azar in collaboration with Deans, chairs, and scholars from the Milken Institute School of Public Health (SPH), Boston University, New York University, University of Michigan, and Saint Louis University. The brief is available here.

This “Scholars’ Brief” urges the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to strike down a New Hampshire experiment that would require Medicaid recipients to work at least 100 hours per month or lose their health coverage, one of the harshest proposed work requirements to date. The same federal court that will decide the New Hampshire experiment has previously barred similar but less restrictive experiments in Kentucky and Arkansas.

We filed this brief in federal court on behalf of scholars to protect access to essential health services,” said FTLF Senior Counsel Phillip Escoriaza. “Medicaid assists millions of people in the United States who otherwise do not have the resources to receive medical assistance. We shared with the Court these scholars’ evidence-based analysis of changes that are being implemented in Medicaid to assist the Court as it judges whether work requirements, which have no foundation in Medicaid law, will in fact promote the basic objective of this program: to ensure access to health services for those whose financial resources are insufficient to secure adequate medical care.” 

According to the scholars’ analysis, New Hampshire’s proposed work requirements are likely to result in significant harm: Milken Institute SPH researchers Leighton Ku, PhD, MPH, and Erin Brantley, MPH, estimate potential coverage losses of between 15,000 and 23,000 Medicaid recipients in the first year alone. The New Hampshire program also targets beneficiaries through the age of 64, despite evidence that 70 percent of low-income adults ages 50 and older already are in only fair-to-poor health.

Similar to Kentucky, Arkansas, and other work experiment states, New Hampshire has been instructed to direct people losing their insurance to community health centers for free or low-cost care. But, the brief argues, this advice ignores the spillover effects on safety net providers as their patients lose coverage and service capacity drops. Milken Institute SPH researchers Peter Shin, PhD, MPH, and Jessica Sharac, MS, MPH, estimate that coverage losses among health center patients could lead to major capacity and staffing reductions – an estimated 2,500-patient capacity reduction, which translates into nearly 11,000 fewer patient visits per year.

FTLF will monitor developments in New Hampshire and other states as they seek and obtain HHS waivers to restrict Medicaid eligibility or coverage. We will continue to support efforts to protect the Medicaid program and other key components of the health care safety net.

For questions about Philbrick, et al. v. Azar or Medicaid waivers, please contact Edward Waters (ewaters@ftlf.com), Phillip Escoriaza (pescoriaza@ftlf.com), or Christopher Frisina (cfrisina@ftlf.com) or call (202) 466-8960.