In upholding the President Obama's health reform law, the Supreme Court ensured the preservation and continued roll-out of im...Read more
Supreme Court Upholds Maine
- May 27th, 2003
The Supreme Court has given its qualified approval to a Maine program that will extend drug discounts to uninsured state residents by pressuring manufacturers to grant the same price discounts they already give Medicaid recipients, according to articles in the New York Times.
In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court lifted an injunction that has kept the Maine Rx Program from taking effect since the state's legislature enacted it in 2000. The Court rejected the pharmaceutical industry's assertion that the Maine law was unconstitutional and violated the federal Medicaid law. The Court's action is likely to embolden other states to move ahead with similar programs. Legislatures in 18 states are considering bills that would create programs similar to Maine's.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said, "This decision is a victory for consumers, who deserve access to more affordable prescription drugs."
Under Maine Rx, the state will require drug makers who want to sell their products in Maine to negotiate discounts similar to those they already give for drugs sold through the Medicaid program. Although the state cannot directly regulate prices, it plans to coerce the pharmaceutical manufacturers to grant the discounts by imposing a "preauthorization procedure" on the products of any manufacturers that fail to cooperate. Preauthorization is a cumbersome process where the state's Department of Human Services must approve drugs on a case-by-case basis.
The Bush administration had urged the Court to block Maine's program, but the justices said the program should be allowed to go into effect, thus allowing evidence to be gathered on its actual impact. A solid majority of the Court rejected the argument that the program is unconstitutional. The Court implied, however, that Maine's program could still be struck down on statutory or administrative grounds. The Wall Street Journal reported that there are "[n]umerous steps" and "further legal wrangling" remaining before the program can begin.
- For the lead New York Times article on the ruling, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/20/politics/20DRUG.html (Free registration required and article may be only temporarily available.)
- For an article on the likely impact of the ruling on other states, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/20/politics/20STAT.html (Free registration required and article may be only temporarily available.)
- For an article on understanding drug "formularies," go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/20/politics/20PHAR.html (Free registration required and article may be only temporarily available.)
- To download the Supreme Court's opinion in PDF, go to: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/02pdf/01-188.pdf
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC
Judith Mtinick is well known for acting as a guardian, conservator, trustee or agent on behalf of clients or by court appointment. This experience gives her a wide perspective and extensive practical knowledge that she uses when advising clients in drafting their planning documents. Her experience, as a court appointed...
Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Attorney Samantha Simmons Fredieu is an associate at Hale Ball. Ms. Fredieu graduated magna cum laude from Vermont Law School where she was the symposium editor on the Vermont Law Review, a production editor on the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, and a member of the Moot Court Advisory Board. She has clerked for...
Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Margaret A. O’Reilly is an estate planning and elder law attorney with over thirty-five years of legal experience. Attorney O’Reilly graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. For over 15 y...