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Nationwide Relief in Medicaid Case Just Ordered

Last night, Judge Michael P. Shea of the U.S. District Court for the District of CT  issued an order “clarifying” his nationwide Preliminary Injunction entered against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on January 31, 2023, which had expressly required that it “reinstate its previous guidance” under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), with respect to the certified nationwide class of people cut off of Medicaid under the Trump Administration’s Interim Final Rule (IFR).

He clarified that this specifically includes the guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in March 2020 and again in April 2020, in the form of an FAQ requiring anyone who lost their Medicaid coverage erroneously during the pandemic to be promptly reinstated, automatically wherever possible, and retroactively. This applies to people who were wrongly cut off due to the IFR, the relevant language of which was invalidated in the Preliminary Injunction ruling.

In his ruling last night, issued shortly after a telephonic hearing in which HHS’s lawyer tried to read his previous order otherwise, the Judge clarified, in no uncertain terms, that HHS must stop ignoring the previous order, and take actions to immediately reinstate Medicaid coverage throughout the country both quickly and automatically (wherever possible), even as states begin their “Medicaid unwinding” processes.

Plaintiffs expect HHS to now fully comply with the preliminary injunction and that all the states will also now comply, as it is an express condition stated in the reinstated FAQ for receiving significant enhanced federal funds under the FFCRA.

The plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Connecticut, the National Health Law Program, Justice in Aging, and Stinson, LLP.

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