9th Circuit Orders End|for Idaho Medicaid Suit

     (CN) – Following a reversal by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 9th Circuit has ordered a federal judge to dismiss a suit against Idaho by healthcare providers seeking higher Medicaid reimbursements.
     Exceptional Child Center, Inc. and more than a dozen other healthcare providers sued Idaho in 2009, claiming the state had kept Medicaid reimbursements flat despite recommendations by its own health department directors for substantial raises to combat rising costs.
     Both a federal judge and the 9th Circuit agreed that the providers are entitled to “reimbursement rates that bear a reasonable relationship to provider costs,” and ordered Idaho lawmakers to kick down more money – about $12 million in 2013 alone.
     But state officials – backed by 27 other states – said that the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause bars private groups from meddling with the state’s delicate task of providing services on a tight budget. In fact, the groups’ lawsuit undermines Congressional intent to allow states to administer their Medicaid programs with minimal interference, the state claimed.
     After agreeing to hear the case in 2014, a deeply divided Supreme Court ruled this past March that the Supremacy Clause bars private entities from using the courts to enforce laws – and reversed both courts.
     Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said “it would be strange indeed to give a clause that makes federal law supreme a reading that limits Congress’s power to enforce that law, by imposing mandatory private enforcement – a limitation unheard of with regard to state legislatures.”
     In response, the 9th Circuit on Thursday ordered the district court to dismiss the healthcare providers’ action for “failure to establish a claim over which we have subject-matter jurisdiction,” the two-page order stated.

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