Medicaid Beneficiaries Ineligible To Receive Share of Tobacco Settlement, Court Rules
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that individual Medicaid beneficiaries are ineligible to receive a share of the national tobacco settlement to pay for smoking-related medical costs, the AP/Hampton Roads Daily Press reports. The ruling upheld decisions by courts in North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia in lawsuits filed by smokers and Medicaid beneficiaries seeking a portion of the billions of dollars the three states are scheduled to receive over the next 25 years as part of the 1998 national tobacco settlement. In those cases, the plaintiffs argued that because the settlement was designed to repay states for smoking-related Medicaid costs, individual Medicaid beneficiaries should be entitled to a share of the settlement funds. But in its decision, the appellate court wrote that federal law "bars any recovery by individual Medicaid recipients to a share of the money the states receive under the Master Settlement Agreement." The court also ruled that federal law "permits the states to do whatever they like with all 'amounts recovered'" from the settlement (AP/Hampton Roads Daily Press, 5/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.