Aug. 10th, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/us/politics/09medicaid.html

Democrats Challenging Administration on Medicaid
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Published: August 8, 2011

WASHINGTON — In an unusual break with the White House, the Democratic leaders of Congress told the Supreme Court on Monday that President Obama was pursuing a misguided interpretation of federal Medicaid law that made it more difficult for low-income people to obtain health care.

The Democratic leaders said Medicaid beneficiaries must be allowed to file suit to enforce their right to care — and to challenge Medicaid cuts being made by states around the country.

The Obama administration maintains that beneficiaries and health care providers cannot sue state officials to challenge cuts in Medicaid payment rates, even if such cuts compromise access to care for the poor.

In a friend-of-the-court brief, the lawmakers said the administration’s position “would undermine the effectiveness of Medicaid.” In addition, they said, it conflicts with more than a century of court precedents that allow people to sue to block state actions that are inconsistent with federal law.

The brief was filed by seven influential Democrats, including Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, an architect of Medicaid; Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader; Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader; and Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Finance Committee.
[....]

In previous administrations, they said, the department “supported and embraced” lawsuits by beneficiaries as a way to help achieve Medicaid’s goals.

AARP, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, civil rights groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also weighed in with Supreme Court briefs supporting the beneficiaries and providers.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
– attributed to President Dwight D. Eisenhower

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