Medicaid, Roberts, etc.

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My what a lovely lede this story has: “In a series of rulings, federal judges are limiting the ability of poor people to turn to the courts to fight for Medicaid benefits to which they believe they are entitled.”

How can federal judges do such a thing? It seems that some patients—yes, mostly the poor—believe that their eligibility for Medicaid entitles them to the same access to health care services as “the general population.” But of late, the Supreme Court has admonished lower courts that “they should be reluctant to infer individually enforceable rights where Congress did not explicitly create such rights.” And, of course, if equal access to health care isn’t a “right” under Medicaid, then it becomes much harder for patients to sue for such protection. Meanwhile, what do we find buried down in the piece but this: “John G. Roberts Jr., President Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court, was an early advocate for [the Supreme Court’s] point of view, long before the recent trend emerged.”

In related news, the Democrats aren’t going to fight Roberts’ nomination, and many of them even plan on voting for him—despite the fact that Roe v. Wade could be all but nullified if Roberts gets confirmed—and, as Sam Rosenfeld chronicles over at TAPPED, Medicaid is coming under further attack from the states and the federal government. Happy times.

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