Lawsuit Questions HHS Preparations for Dual Eligibles
A group of advocacy organizations and Medicare beneficiaries on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco alleging that HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt did not ensure that dual eligibles -- individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid whose drug coverage was transferred from Medicaid to Medicare on Jan. 1 -- had access to medications under the drug benefit, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Colliver/Sarkar, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/27).
The suit alleges that Leavitt also did not do enough to ensure that low-income beneficiaries were able to enroll in the drug benefit or that insurers were properly notified of those who were enrolled (AP/Baltimore Sun, 4/27). The plaintiffs include three beneficiaries and two advocacy groups (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 4/27).
Jeanne Finberg, a plaintiffs attorney in the case, said, "We think hundreds of thousand of people's health may be endangered." Ashkenaz said the problems alleged in the suit have been resolved, adding, "From everything we've seen, those problems are in the past" (AP/Baltimore Sun, 4/27).