The United States Law Week

Justices Focus on Intent in Medicare Reimbursement Case (1)

Jan. 15, 2019, 6:09 PMUpdated: Jan. 15, 2019, 10:19 PM

Hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicare payments were on the line as the Supreme Court grappled with Congress’ intent in creating a law that governs when the Department of Health Human Services should make changes through formal rulemaking.

Seven justices heard oral arguments Jan. 15 on the question of whether the HHS violated rulemaking law when it altered the reimbursement formula for hospitals that serve a high number of low-income patients. Hospitals say the government did so without providing an adequate notice-and-comment opportunity.

The Medicare Act requires changes to “substantive legal standard” to go through a notice-and-comment process.


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