The Supreme Court ruled against five states that had asked the high court for an injunction so they could appeal monthly Medicare drug benefit payments.

Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey and Texas had petitioned the Supreme Court to block a part of the Medicare drug program. At least 10 other states have also filed similar briefs with the court. The states are opposed to so-called clawback payments they now make to the government. The Medicare drug benefit covers the drug costs of dual eligibles, or those who receive Medicare and Medicaid. Formerly, Medicaid covered the drug costs of dual eligibles.

The justices gave no explanation in their denial. Attorneys general from several states have vowed to regroup to discuss other options. State officials have called the payments — forecast to be in the billions of dollars — an unconstitutional federal tax that will drain funding from other healthcare pursuits.