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Supreme Court to hear case on Trump's push for Medicaid work requirements

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case over the Trump administration’s push for Medicaid work requirements, though the issue could be moot when President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE takes office.

The Trump administration earlier this year had appealed lower court rulings that found the requirements adopted by New Hampshire and Arkansas to be unlawful.

The administration asked the high court in July to reinstate the work requirements, arguing they would allow beneficiaries to transition to other forms of coverage and free up state funding from people who might not need it.

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A federal appeals court had ruled in February that the approval of the requirements in Arkansas was “arbitrary and capricious.” The court said the administration did not adequately account for loss of coverage that would stem from the requirements to work or volunteer. The D.C. Circuit reached a similar conclusion in May for New Hampshire.

More than 18,000 people lost coverage in Arkansas due to work requirements before they were halted by a lower court.

The Trump administration began approving state Medicaid work requirements in 2018, though it has faced some legal setbacks, with lower courts saying that Medicaid’s main purpose is providing health care coverage.

Medicaid work requirements have been a priority for the Trump administration, though the incoming Biden administration is expected to eliminate the rules while pushing to expand access to Medicaid.

“The Biden administration can certainly change this policy, and we hope that will happen,” Jane Perkins, legal director for the health care advocacy group National Health Law Program, told Reuters.

Opponents of work requirements argue that the rules don’t improve public health and are instead designed to kick people out of Medicaid.