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Kentucky Equal Justice Center is a non-profit poverty law advocacy center

The mission of Kentucky Equal Justice Center is to promote equal justice for all residents of the
Commonwealth by serving as an advocate for low income and other vulnerable members of society.

Staff News
September 21, 2018

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Ben Carter
Attorney Ben Carter Joins KEJC as Senior Counsel

KEJC welcomes attorney Ben Carter as KEJC's new Senior Litigation and Advocacy Counsel. Ben began his career as a housing attorney for Louisville’s Legal Aid Society and has been in private practice, focusing primarily on consumer law, for the last six years. Says Ben:

“I am absolutely thrilled to join the dynamic, tireless team at Kentucky Equal Justice Center. As a nonprofit attorney and while I was in private practice, I watched and benefitted from KEJC’s advocacy and expertise. I can’t wait to collaborate with private and nonprofit attorneys and to work in Frankfort alongside our allies to ensure our laws and policies work for all Kentuckians, especially those most vulnerable and likely to be marginalized by misguided laws and policies."
Ben's first priority will be to continue the work Anne Marie Regan and KEJC advocates have done to defend Kentucky’s Medicaid recipients from the Bevin Administration’s attempt to impose an unnecessary and ineffective work requirement--and other new barriers to coverage--on Medicaid recipients.
Ben also will supervise the work of other KEJC attorneys and advocates. Many thanks to the talented candidates who applied for the Senior Counsel position and to the combined hiring committee of board and staff members for its dedication to the search process. Welcome, Ben!

July 2, 2018

Kentucky Medicaid Waiver Scheme Halted by Federal Court

The National Health Law Program issued this press release on Friday, June 29th. Kentucky Equal Justice Center and Southern Poverty Law Center are co-counsel in the lawsuit.
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Washington - The Trump administration acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in approving Kentucky's Medicaid waiver plan that included numerous obstacles to accessing Medicaid health care services, such as requiring Kentuckians to document work hours to access and obtain health care, a federal judge ruled today.

National Health Law Program, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, and Southern Poverty Law Center are representing 16 Kentuckians in the class action lawsuit, Stewart v. Azar. The law firm, Jenner & Block is representing National Health Law Program in Stewart.

National Health Law Program Legal Director Jane Perkins said, "Medicaid matters, and today is a victory for Medicaid, Medicaid beneficiaries, and the rule of law. The Trump administration's attempt to transform the Medicaid program through executive action has been restrained. The purpose of the Medicaid Act is to furnish medical assistance, and this approval could not stand because it was doing just the opposite -restricting coverage." Perkins also noted, "The proposal to take health coverage away from people who did not meet the new work requirements has been the focus of attention. Of course, we all want stable and well-paying jobs but taking away health coverage if a person fails to meet the requirement is not consistent with Medicaid's purpose - which the Medicaid Act says is to furnish medical assistance. There are better - and legal - ways to help people find work - job training, child care, affordable transportation, and a decent minimum wage."

Kentucky's Sec. 1115 waiver plan called "Kentucky HEALTH," was set to take effect on July 1. The judge's decision vacates the approval and remands back to HHS. Because of the judge's ruling, Kentuckians will continue to be able to access Medicaid health services.

"There is a reason why no previous administration has approved the severe provisions Kentucky is so bent on pressing - they do not furnish health care services. Instead they punish the very populations Medicaid is intended to protect," said National Health Law Program Senior Attorney Catherine McKee. McKee added, however, "We are expecting an appeal by the Trump administration and Kentucky's governor."

KEJC Senior Attorney Anne Marie Regan said, "We are very pleased that Judge Boasberg's ruling recognizes that Kentucky's Medicaid waiver would not have furthered the purpose of Medicaid, which is to provide medical care to those who cannot afford it. Instead, the waiver would have reduced medical services, set up bureaucratic barriers to care and resulted in nearly 100,000 Kentuckians losing Medicaid. We need to refocus on continuing to improve overall health, as Kentucky has been able to do since expanding Medicaid."

Southern Poverty Law Center Deputy Legal Director Samuel Brooke said, "Medicaid has always been a crucial safety net to help those most in need get back on their feet. By imposing new onerous conditions to qualify for the program, Kentucky's Medicaid waiver effectively locks out the very people it was designed to help, in violation of the Medicaid Act. We are pleased with the court's ruling preventing the waiver from going into effect. The ruling will help ensure that low-income individuals and families across Kentucky will continue to be able to access appropriate health care services without any undue delay.

For more attorneys' comment on today's outcome in Stewart v. Azar, please contact: Jeremy Leaming, National Health Law Program, 301.233.0867, leaming@healthlaw.org

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KEJC Workers' Rights Task Force Meeting, May 16, 2017

Kentucky Equal Justice Center
201 West Short Street, Suite 310
Lexington, KY 40507