By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a bid by President Donald Trump’s administration to revive pilot programs adopted by the states of Arkansas and New Hampshire that allow work requirements to be imposed on people who receive healthcare under the Medicaid program for the poor.
The justices took up the administration’s appeals of rulings by a lower court that found the programs unlawful. Seventeen other states are pursuing similar policies.
The administration said in court papers that the appeals court rulings cast a legal shadow on the efforts in those other states to adopt work requirements for Medicaid, a state-federal program that provides medical insurance for the poor. New Hampshire and Arkansas filed court papers in support of the administration.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2018 approved those projects as part of a push to put a conservative stamp on Medicaid, which was expanded in 37 states and the District of Columbia following the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to help provide coverage to millions more Americans.
The department gave the go-ahead for states to carry out test projects requiring able-bodied people on Medicaid to work or do volunteer work.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Will Dunham)