Administration doesn't support lawsuits against states over Medicaid cuts

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U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court

The Obama administration has said healthcare providers and Medicaid recipients cannot sue state officials over Medicaid reimbursement cuts, according to a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief filed by acting solicitor general Neal K. Katyal.

Faced with budget cuts, states have been lowering reimbursement rates to nursing homes, hospitals, pharmacies, dentists and other providers. Medicaid beneficiaries are already having a harder time finding providers that will accept them, The New York Times reported. But the Obama administration contends that it is up to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to enforce access to care issues. The administration says federal officials have better resources than judges for determining when access to care is a problem.

The brief was filed in response to a set of Appeals Court cases in California that decided beneficiaries could sue under the supremacy clause of the Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in the fall, the Times reported.

While several states support the administration's view, a top Democrat, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), says the brief is “wrong on the law and bad policy.”
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