Supreme Court Sends Calif. Medicaid Case Back To Lower Court

At issue was a federal appeals court ruling allowing patients and health care providers to sue over California's cuts in Medicaid payment rates. The high court sent the case back to the court in San Francisco to consider whether private parties or only the federal government can object to Medicaid reductions.

Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court Lets Providers Continue Suing To Stop Medi-Cal Cuts
A years-long legal fight over cuts in California's multibillion-dollar healthcare program for the poor took another twist Wednesday as the U.S. Supreme Court kicked the case back to a lower court. The high court's 5-4 decision allows medical providers to continue suing to stop the cuts, which would lower reimbursement rates for doctors who participate in the state's Medi-Cal program (Savage and Megerian, 2/23).

The Associated Press: Court Returns Calif. Medicaid Case To Lower Court
The Supreme Court has thrown out a federal appeals court ruling allowing patients and health care providers to sue over California's cuts in Medicaid payment rates. The narrow ruling Wednesday is not a total loss for the parties challenging the Medicaid cuts. By a 5-4 vote, the court sent the case back to the federal appeals court in San Francisco to consider whether private parties or only the federal government can object to Medicaid reductions (2/22).

California Healthline:  From Supreme Court to Appeals Court
Yesterday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court had a ripple effect in California, influencing a number of lawsuits in the state over health care cuts. Four lawsuits have been filed over the 10% Medi-Cal provider rate cuts, and in all four cases, a federal judge has issued a temporary injunction blocking those cuts. In another court case, an injunction halted 20% trigger cuts to Californians receiving In-Home Supportive Services. All of those cases were waiting to see what the Supreme Court would decide in Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California (Gorn, 2/23).

Politico: SCOTUS Punts On California Medicaid Lawsuit
The Supreme Court is punting on a key question about when Medicaid providers and beneficiaries have the right to sue over cuts to the federal-state health care program. That was the major question at the heart of Douglas v. Independent Living Center, in which provider and consumer groups claimed that California violated federal law by cutting Medicaid provider payment rates. They went to court under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, essentially saying that provisions of the federal Medicaid statute should block the provider cuts (Millman, 2/22).

Reuters: Supreme Court Sends Back California Medicaid Cuts Case
The Supreme Court sent back to a lower court a case on whether Medicaid recipients and medical providers can sue California for cutting reimbursement rates in the healthcare program for low-income Americans. The high court said on Wednesday that after it heard oral arguments in the case on October 3, federal government officials approved the state's statutes as consistent with federal law (2/22).

NPR's Shots blog: High Court Punts On California Medicaid Ruling
At first, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed that California's proposed reductions were not consistent with the federal statute. But last October, after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case, the federal agency reversed itself, at least in part, and said it would allow many of the cuts to go through.That didn't make the case moot, but it changed things considerably, Breyer wrote in the majority opinion (Rovner, 2/22). 

Modern Healthcare: Calif. Medicaid Case Heads Back To Lower Court
The U.S. Supreme Court sent a widely watched California Medicaid case back to a lower court, declining to rule whether providers can sue states to enforce the federal statute. The California Medical Association, however, viewed the decision as a "win for physicians and their patients" because the opinion suggests that providers may have a mechanism to challenge Medicaid policies in the courts, according to a news release (Blesch, 2/22).

Earlier, related KHN coverage: The Other Health Care Lawsuit: California Medicaid Case Headed To Supreme Court (Chase, 6/2/2011).

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