The United States Supreme Court rolled back an Obama-era rule that changed how hospitals were reimbursed for care given to low-income patients, according to The Hill.
The change was reversed, thanks to a lack of “proper notice and comment regulations in implementing the formula,” The Hill reported. The court’s decision was a 7-1 in favor of vacating the rule, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh not involved in the case.
Justice Neil Gorsuch penned the majority opinion, and Justice Stephen Breyer was the only dissenting member of the court on the Medicare case.
“The highly technical ruling and dispute involves billions of dollars in Medicare payments to hospitals,” The Hill reported.
The court decided that hospitals who sued over the 2014 decision to lower their payments when serving low-income patients had a valid case, because of the lack of notice in the payment changes.
“In 2014, the government revealed a new policy on its website that dramatically—and retroactively—reduced payments to hospitals serving low-income patients,” Gorsuch wrote according to The Hill.
“Because affected members of the public received no advance warning and no chance to comment first, and because the government has not identified a lawful excuse for neglecting its statutory notice-and-comment obligations, we agree with the court of appeals that the new policy cannot stand,” he continued.
However, Breyer countered that the action in question was exempt from the entire notice and comment process that it was found in violation of.
Nicholas Bagley, a law professor at the University of Michigan, weighed in on Twitter Monday, shortly after the decision was announced. The professor warned that the court’s ruling imposes burdens on the federal Medicare agency, known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), that could actually hinder the implementation of the program in question.
“Bear in mind that CMS is a tiny, beleaguered agency. … To further encumber it will make Medicare more capricious, not less, as staffers tend to senseless procedures instead of doing their jobs,” Bagley wrote.
Bear in mind that CMS is a tiny, beleaguered agency, as I explained in a 2013 all about Medicare's administration. To further encumber it will make Medicare more capricious, not less, as staffers tend to senseless procedures instead of doing their jobs. https://t.co/U5FoEdzL84 pic.twitter.com/gsMY1ErTLe
— Nicholas Bagley (@nicholas_bagley) June 3, 2019