High court will hear appeal over Medicaid work requirements

In the midst of a pandemic, the Supreme Court says it will take up the Trump administration’s stalled plan to allow states to require low-income people to work to receive health care under Medicaid

Even so, the court agreed to review lower-court decisions involving Arkansas and New Hampshire that found that the administration's support for work requirements went beyond what's allowed by law.

Medicaid is a $600 billion federal-state program that covers about 70 million people, from pregnant women and newborns to disabled people and elderly nursing home residents. Under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, states gained the option of expanding the program to many low-income adults previously ineligible. More than 12 million people have gained coverage as a result.

The Trump administration allowed states to require “able-bodied” adults drawing Medicaid benefits to work, volunteer or study.

Before the pandemic, nearly 20 states had tried to implement requirements after the administration invited them in 2017 to submit such proposals. Kentucky, an early adopter, has reversed course under a Democratic governor and dropped its requirements.

Trump also has supported work requirements for safety-net programs across the government. He signed an executive order directing Cabinet agencies to add or strengthen work requirements for programs including subsidized housing, food stamps and cash welfare.

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