Washington, D.C. – Twelve groups representing millions of patients across the nation will file an amicus curiae - or friend of the court - brief today urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect access to quality health care for individuals with Medicaid health coverage. Historically, Medicaid beneficiaries have had the ability to sue to protect their Medicaid rights, and these organizations argue this ability is critical to ensuring individuals receive quality health care.
The groups cite the importance of access to Medicaid in improving health outcomes and reducing health disparities. The groups issue the following joint statement:
“Medicaid is an essential source of health coverage for nearly 82 million people nationwide, including millions with illnesses like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions. Increasing access to Medicaid has dramatically increased access to medical care among individuals with limited incomes by reducing the numbers of people without health insurance. Having access to Medicaid significantly improves health outcomes, particularly for persons with serious, life-threatening diseases, and reduces health disparities, in many cases by providing specific rights to certain types of care.
“An individual’s ability to sue provides a crucial enforcement mechanism when their Medicaid rights have been violated. Medicaid beneficiaries must continue to be able to hold state-administered programs, entities and actors accountable if they fail to provide Medicaid benefits or coverage to qualifying individuals as required by law.
“Over 50 years of legal precedents allow individuals with Medicaid coverage to stand up for the rights that coverage guarantees. Removing a Medicaid beneficiary’s right to recourse if quality care is not provided to them puts their access to care at risk and could potentially undo years of progress we’ve seen as a result of this program being expanded in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
“Accessible health care is essential in managing chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes; and in maintaining maternal and infant health. Our organizations urge the Supreme Court to protect the rights of Medicaid beneficiaries, many of whom deal with the chronic diseases our organizations fight daily.”
The groups to file the amicus brief include: The American Cancer Society, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Diabetes Association, The AIDS Institute, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation, the Hemophilia Federation of America, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Patient Advocate Foundation, the National Organization for Rare Disorders, and WomenHeart.
The organizations are being represented on a pro bono basis by the law firm of Eversheds Sutherland.