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Supreme Court Will Take Up Case on Waivers for Medicaid Work Requirements

On Nov. 10, the Supreme Court decided that it will hear a case about the administration’s approval of waivers to establish work requirements for certain populations as a condition of Medicaid eligibility. The Court will decide whether to affirm or overturn a unanimous US Court of Appeals decision invalidating Arkansas and New Hampshire waivers. That court ruled that the department’s approval of these waivers was “arbitrary and capricious” (thus violating the Administrative Procedure Act) because the department failed to consider whether the work requirements were consistent with Medicaid’s purpose of providing health insurance coverage. Thus, the case is about this particular waiver-approval process, rather than whether work requirements are themselves permitted under Medicaid law. See D.C. Circuit on Medicaid Work Requirements: Read the Statute (Blog of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, 2/19/20).

The Supreme Court will likely hear oral arguments in the winter or early spring. In the meantime, however, the new administration could begin the process of rescinding the waiver approvals, thus making the case moot. See Supreme Court Will Hear Trump Administration Defend Controversial Medicaid Work Requirements (USA Today, 12/04/20). 

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