Blog: Florida joins other states in pushing for court review of Medicaid expansion

Oct 25, 2011

The following article was posted to the SaintPetersBlog on October 25, 2011:

Florida joins other states in pushing for court review of Medicaid expansion

By Peter Schorsch

Arguing they would be held “hostage,” Florida and other states filed a brief Monday imploring the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of a Medicaid expansion that is part of the 2010 federal health overhaul, reports the News Service of Florida.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this summer upheld the Medicaid expansion, which is part of the law’s broader goal of making sure almost all Americans have health coverage. But the states argue the expansion would amount to unconstitutional “coercion” by the federal government.

The federal government would pay most of the expansion’s costs, at least in the early years. But states say they run the risk of losing all Medicaid funding if they refuse to go along with the expansion

.”Congress attached the new conditions not just to new money but to billions in preexisting Medicaid funding,” the brief says. “Congress did so precisely because it knew states could not afford the loss of nearly half of all federal funding and would therefore capitulate to its demands.”

Federal attorneys, however, argue that Congress has always had the right to make changes in Medicaid. The states and the Obama administration are asking the Supreme Court to rule next year on the constitutionality of the health overhaul, with much of the attention focusing on an insurance requirement  known as the “individual mandate.”

Florida has spearheaded the challenge to the law.

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