‘We’re in an open-heart surgery’: U.S. Supreme Court rules that state may opt out of ACA’s Medicaid expansion
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states may opt-out of a controversial provision of the ACA, ruling that the federal government has the authority to expand Medicaid eligibility beyond the current population cap of about 138,000.
The justices unanimously approved the measure, known as the expansion provision, as it came to a vote in the high court’s liberal majority.
But the justices said the provision, which would give states the ability to waive some or all of the Medicaid expansion, would still require congressional approval.
The ruling marks the second time in the past week that the Supreme Court has ruled against expanding Medicaid eligibility.
The court on Monday agreed with an appeals court decision in another case that said the Medicaid program must be expanded to the full population of people eligible for it.
The Supreme House of Representatives has voted to expand eligibility for the program for some people who are eligible for private health insurance through the federal health care law.
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the next three weeks over whether states can opt out or not of the expansion.
The justices have not yet set a date for the next hearing.
The expansion provision would allow states to opt out and leave the Medicaid cap unchanged, which is the most controversial part of the health care reform law.
The Medicaid expansion was one of several provisions that were considered by the court to be among the biggest changes to the law.
States had argued the expansion provisions would lead to more people using Medicaid and lead to lower spending on the program.
Supporters said the expansion would be good for the health of the nation and that it would help to stabilize Medicaid’s finances.
Opponents, including the governors of some of the poorest states in the country, argued the plan would increase the cost of health care and lead people to leave Medicaid, leading to higher premiums for some individuals and states.
The health care debate has taken on a new urgency after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Scalia’s death was announced last month after a long battle with cancer, a diagnosis he had been battling for more than a year.
He died of a heart attack on Friday.
The issue of Medicaid expansion has become a focal point in the presidential campaign.
Republican Donald Trump and Democratic Hillary Clinton have both called for expanding the program, which provides health insurance to about 3.5 million people.
Clinton and Trump are locked in a close race for the Democratic nomination for president.