Solicitor General Weighs In on Supreme Court Review of Medi-Cal Case
Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Kumar Katyal recently sent a brief recommending that the U.S. Supreme Court reject California's request for a review of a lower court decision that blocked state cuts to Medi-Cal payments, AHA News reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (AHA News, 12/6).
In 2008, California lawmakers approved a 10% reduction in Medi-Cal payments to health care providers to address the state's budget deficit. The Independent Living Center of Southern California and other health groups filed a lawsuit against the cuts (California Healthline, 7/15/2008).
In 2009, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the rate reductions violated a federal statute requiring states that receive Medicaid funds to set reimbursement rates at levels that allow for equal access to health care. The court said the state implemented the cuts for financial reasons and did not sufficiently study how the 10% reductions would affect Medi-Cal beneficiaries' access to care (California Healthline, 9/25/2009).
California appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is deciding whether to review the case. In August, the American Hospital Association and other organizations representing Medicaid providers sent a letter to Kumar Katyal asking the federal government to oppose California's request for a review.
Acting Solicitor General's Brief
The acting solicitor general's recommendation comes in response to a request by the U.S. Supreme Court for the federal government's opinion on whether the case should be reviewed.
In the brief, Kumar Katyal notes that HHS intends to use the rulemaking process to develop "authoritative guidance" on the Medicaid provision pertinent to the case (AHA News, 12/6).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.