For Immediate Release
July 2, 2018     
Contact: Abby Matienzo, Communications Manager
       703-942-5711 #230

NAELA Praises Ruling to Block Kentucky Medicaid Waiver
Waiver Would Have Led to Estimated 95,000 Individuals Losing Health Care Coverage

Washington, DC — On Friday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia overturned the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) approval of a Kentucky Medicaid waiver that would have led to an estimated 95,000 individuals losing health care coverage.

Medicaid is a state-federal program that requires states to meet certain requirements in exchange for federal dollars. The State of Kentucky had sought permission from the Secretary of HHS to impose a variety of new restrictions, such as imposing work requirements, on its Medicaid program using a Section 1115 waiver.

Under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act, the Secretary of HHS has authority to waive those requirements. To properly consider a waiver request, the Secretary must assess 1) whether the project truly is an “experimental, pilot, or demonstration project”; 2) whether the project is likely to assist in promoting the Medicaid program’s objectives; and 3) the length of time for which the project is necessary.

“Fundamentally, the court reaffirmed that the objective of the Medicaid Act is to cover health care costs for those who qualify. That was Congress’s intent and the Secretary can’t circumvent that using a waiver,” said NAELA President Michael J. Amoruso, Esq., Fellow, CAP.

Previously, NAELA together with AARP, AARP Foundation, Justice in Aging, and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) submitted a brief in support of the plaintiffs.

Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Upon joining, NAELA member attorneys agree to adhere to the NAELA Aspirational Standards. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is educate, inspire, serve, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit, or to locate a NAELA member attorney in your area, visit

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