Updates on Medicaid Cuts Litigation
Today's news brings two articles on key challenges to state Medicaid cuts. One is from the New York Times, reporting on a preliminary injunction issued to block certain cuts to Medicaid personal care services in New York City and state. The article begins:
Charles Strouchler, a former publicity agent for classical-music management companies, has such severe multiple sclerosis that he has to be washed, fed, secured in a wheelchair during the day and turned in bed at night. For the past 15 years, he said, he has been able to live at home only because Medicaid pays for aides to take care of him around the clock.
Earlier this year, he received a notice saying that his help was being cut to one live-in aide per day, who would sleep through the night, rather than two aides working for 12 hours each. Mr. Strouchler and others like him filed a class-action lawsuit, challenging reductions in care.
While not ruling on the merits of the case, a federal judge in Manhattan decided on Tuesday that the plaintiffs had a “substantial likelihood” of proving that New York City and New York State had violated federal law in cutting back on Medicaid-financed personal care for hundreds of New Yorkers like Mr. Strouchler since last year.The other, from KOMO in Seattle, reports on efforts by disability rights activists to convince Washington Governor Christine Gregoire not to seek cert. to review the Ninth Circuit's decision in M.R. v. Dreyfus, which blocked certain Medicaid cuts. (I've blogged about M.R. before.) From the story:
"There are a lot of vulnerable folks who rely on this service," Ganapathiraju said. "It's unfair, of course, that the situation is how it is. It's understandable that there are political forces at work."
Ganapathiraju is referring to state-mandated budget cuts, which slashed in-home personal health care services for the elderly and the disabled. A judge upheld that the cuts are legal, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision, arguing that the cuts violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The state has until September 17 to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Carl Peterson with the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. Peterson joined with other advocates for the disabled Wednesday to call on the state and the governor to not appeal the decision.
"What really is at stake here is the ability for somebody with a disability to stay and live fruitfully and as a positive part of the community instead of living in an institution," Peterson said. "We understand that the governor needs to save money and stuff but this is not the way to do it."