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In a court brief filed late Tuesday, attorneys for the state of Arkansas argue that a federal judge misinterpreted the law when he struck down the state's Medicaid work requirement.

In his March 27 ruling, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of the Washington, D.C., district found that Medicaid's purpose is to provide needy people with health coverage.

Attorneys with Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office say that Medicaid also aims to improve the health of needy people.

The state's lawyers make that argument in a brief that urges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and urge the court to overturn Boasberg's ruling.

Boasberg ruled that President Donald Trump's administration violated the law governing Medicaid by failing to consider the effect the measure would have on the program’s goal of providng health coverage to needy people.

Arkansas’ attorneys argue that the Trump administration predicted that the work requirement would help achieve the goal of improving Medicaid recipients' health by prodding them to find jobs, which would lead to improved health.

Boasberg’s “ultimate conclusion that Medicaid’s ‘core purpose’ is the mere perpetuation of coverage with no specific goal in mind conflicts with commonsense, text, and precedent,” the attorneys argue in the brief.

The brief was one of three filed Tuesday in the appeal on Boasberg’s rulings overturning work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky. The other briefs were filed by Kentucky's lawyers and lawyers for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Responses by attorneys for Medicaid recipients in the two states who successfully challenged the requirements are due June 20.


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