Washington, D.U. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a sweeping ruling that requires states to consider expanding health coverage options for Medicaid and other federal programs.
The justices also ruled that states must consider whether to adopt a statewide single-payer system in which the government would be responsible for health care for all citizens.
The court’s decision does not mean that the federal government would have to provide coverage to all Americans, but rather states will be able to decide how to implement the court’s requirement for the federal program to be universal.
The ruling comes as the states prepare to start the process of setting up an office to take on the responsibility of providing health insurance for all Americans.
States will need to submit their plans for a new office to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in September.
States must also set up an exchange for people to buy health insurance on the federally run HealthCare.gov, a website where most Americans receive their health insurance.
They must also hire about 2,500 people, most of them in states with Medicaid and Medicare, to help administer the new federal insurance exchange.
The court’s ruling on Tuesday came during a two-day hearing on the federal health care law and its impact on the states, which have been struggling with a shortage of workers and limited options for hiring.
The ruling was the first in a long string of rulings by the court, which is split 5-4.
The federal government’s insurance exchanges and Medicaid program are set to open in 2017 and 2018.
The Supreme Court has yet to rule on whether states should use their own health care systems.