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Courts Cannot Protect Drug Access for Elderly Medicaid Recipients, Judge Rules

  • December 30th, 2005

A federal district judge in Manhattan has ruled that federal courts lack the power to order the continuation of existing drug benefits to people with Medicare who are losing Medicaid drug coverage this weekend. The decision says that people denied medicine must contest that denial, individual by individual, before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services prior to seeking court protection.

The plaintiffs, eight consumer organizations from Maine to California, will bring an immediate appeal of the ruling.

Robert M. Hayes, the president of the Medicare Rights Center, one of the plaintiffs in the case, made the following statement:

'Nothing in this ruling suggests that the oldest, poorest and frailest Americans are safe. On January 1st the neediest Americans face potentially catastrophic disruptions in their access to needed medicine. In the real world, people cut off from life-sustaining medicine cannot survive the delay of an agency appeal. The responsibility for the health and safety of these frail Americans rests squarely with the Bush Administration.'

The text of the court's decision can be found at: http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/rulings/05CV09549_opinion_122905.pdf

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Last Modified: 12/30/2005

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