Democratic Leaders Challenge Obama Medicaid Policy in Supreme Court
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Unhappy with the White House’s legal position, Democratic leaders of Congress have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging President Barack Obama’s position on Medicaid.
The dispute stems from Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California, in which the plaintiffs (Medicaid beneficiaries and providers) sued over California’s decision to cut what was already the nation’s lowest payment rates under the government-funded health program.
The Obama administration has taken the position that beneficiaries and health care providers can’t sue state officials to challenge the state’s 10% cuts in Medicaid provider payments, even if the cuts compromise access to care for the poor.
Democratic leaders disagree, saying Medicaid beneficiaries must be allowed to file suit. Those who signed the Supreme Court brief include Representatives Henry Waxman and Nancy Pelosi of California, and Senators Harry Reid of Nevada and Max Baucus of Montana.
A similar brief was filed by a dozen former federal health officials, including Donna Shalala, former secretary of health and human services under President Bill Clinton, Joseph Califano Jr., health secretary under President Jimmy Carter, and Bruce Vladeck, who ran Medicaid and Medicare in the Clinton administration. These officials argued that previous administrations “supported and embraced” lawsuits by beneficiaries.
The Big Supreme Court Health-Care Case You Haven’t Heard About (by Sarah Kliff, Washington Post)
Democrats Challenging Administration on Medicaid (by Robert Pear, New York Times)
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