Providers pleased with Supreme Court Medicaid decision

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The U.S. Supreme Court building
The U.S. Supreme Court building
The U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled against the idea of providers suing the state of California for its efforts to cut Medicaid reimbursements by 10%. The nation's highest court sent the case back to the 9th Circuit Court for further consideration. Among the provider groups pleased with the non-decision was the California Medical Association. It called it a “win” since its physician members believe they now have an avenue to file court complaints about Medicaid policies. 

California sought and received permission from the federal government to cut Medicaid reimbursements by 10%. Long-term care, acute-care and other providers filed five lawsuits against the state, saying that state amendments had failed the federal law calling for adequate payments to ensure quality care for beneficiaries.

The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with the complainants and blocked the state from making any changes. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has since approved some amendments. The state has pulled back others it had wanted.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to remand the case to the lower court, with Justice Stephen Breyer writing the majority opinion. He wrote that providers are now free to challenge CMS's decisions instead of trying to challenge the propriety of federal law over state law.