The Supreme Court is beginning a term expected to be dominated by health care with arguments Monday in a closely watched case involving the Medicaid program for poor Americans.
The first order of business is disposing of appeals in more than a thousand cases that piled up over the summer.
After that, the justices will hear arguments in a case that centers on California's plan to cut Medicaid payments to doctors, hospitals and other medical providers to close the state's budget gap.
The issue is whether the providers and Medicaid recipients can go to federal court to block the reductions from taking effect, claiming they violate the federal Medicaid law.
California, joined by the Obama administration, says only the U.S. Health and Human Services Department can make that call.