SCOTUS Hears California Medicaid Case

October 5, 2011
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The SCOTUS has begun a new term, and the most august judicial body is hearing a case involving potential for healthcare consumers (patients), hospitals, or even doctors to sue a state government for what they may see as unjust — or even, unethical — cuts to the state’s Medicaid program. The Obama administration is asking that cuts by proposed to Medi-Cal (of California) in the wake of already massive declines in reimbursements in that state due to its well-know budgetary woes be implemented and shielded from such lawsuits.

The SCOTUS has begun a new term, and the most august judicial body is hearing a case involving potential for healthcare consumers (patients), hospitals, or even doctors to sue a state government for what they may see as unjust — or even, unethical — cuts to the state’s Medicaid program. The Obama administration is asking that cuts by proposed to Medi-Cal (of California) in the wake of already massive declines in reimbursements in that state due to its well-know budgetary woes be implemented and shielded from such lawsuits.

The court did not consider the legality of California’s reductions, only whether private citizens could sue to challenge them. No clear majority emerged at Monday’s one-hour hearing.  A lawyer for doctors and patients told the court the reductions would be both illegal and cruel.

Barred lawsuits would mean total involment by the federal goverment in policing an already massively bureaucratic Medicaid program — as HHS would have authority over proposing further reductions. A ruling on this case is expected next June — one of many rulings in what appears to be a very interesting pending SCOTUS term. | LINK

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