Administration Opposes Challenges to Medicaid Cuts
Medicaid recipients and health care providers cannot sue state officials to challenge cuts in Medicaid payments, even if such cuts compromise access to health care for poor people, the Obama administration has told the Supreme Court. States around the country, faced with severe budget problems, have been reducing Medicaid rates for doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes and other providers. Federal law says Medicaid rates must be “sufficient to enlist enough providers” so that Medicaid recipients have access to care to the same extent as the general population in an area. In a friend-of-the court brief filed Thursday in the Supreme Court, the Justice Department said that no federal law allowed private individuals to sue states to enforce this standard. Such lawsuits “would not be compatible” with the means of enforcement envisioned by Congress, which relies on the secretary of health and human services to make sure states comply, the administration said in the brief, by the acting solicitor general, Neal K. Katyal.