Advocates: Cost-relief decision hurts Medicare beneficiaries

After giving the ruling a few days to sink in, several patient advocate groups now say a Supreme Court decision will end up hurting Medicaid beneficiaries more than anyone. At issue is the Supreme Court voting to bar providers from forcing states to mitigate rising costs with higher rates.

Several patient groups say the ruling could have a freezing effect on Medicaid patients trying to access Medicaid services.

The high court ruled March 31 that residential care providers could not sue Medicaid for higher payments to mitigate rising costs for covered services. Idaho providers in 2009 unsuccessfully sued their state to do just that. Meanwhile, one health care attorney downplayed the ruling because Medicaid managed care programs are becoming so prevalent. The American Medical Association and the Federation of American Hospitals have both expressed disappointment with the decision.

William A. Dombi, vice president for law at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, told Bloomberg News services the ruling “severely limits” remedies providers can pursue when escalating costs become prohibitive, adding, “the halls of federal courts are filled with disappointed litigants trying to battle payment rates.”

The news service also noted that provider groups are growing concerned that the decision could lead to doctors instituting quotas or stopping accepting Medicaid patients altogether.
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