Disclaimer: This article may contain the personal views and opinions of the author.
A recent ruling by The U.S. Supreme Court says that the Department of Health and Human Services violated drug reimbursement rules for low-income patients.
In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that HHS illegally cut prescription drug reimbursements to hospitals. The program, which was intended to help lower-income patients, saw $1.6 billion fewer dollars per year.
It’s important to note that HHS is led by Xavier Becerra, the former California Attorney General.
The court’s decision is a victory for the many hospitals that serve low-income patients. Those hospitals will now be able to request the funds they were denied by Becerra’s agency.
A report on the story read:
“But HHS improperly relied on a formula that Congress made available only in specific circumstances, which didn’t apply in the case, the court determined. President George W. Bush in 2003 signed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act into law. The statute requires HHS to establish reimbursement rates every year for certain outpatient prescription drugs provided by hospitals using a predetermined formula.
Despite the urging of the Biden administration, the Supreme Court didn’t address whether the so-called Chevron doctrine that the Supreme Court enunciated in 1984 applied to the case. In Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the high court held that while courts “must give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress,” where courts find “Congress has not directly addressed the precise question at issue” and “the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific issue, the question for the court is whether the agency’s answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute.”
In the ruling, the judge in the case wrote, “In short, the Court finds that any disruption that will be caused by vacating the prospective portion of the 2022 OPPS Rule’s 340B reimbursement rate does not rise to the level of justifying remand without vacatur.”
The judge called the payment cuts “defective” and ordered the cuts to be “tossed for the remainder of 2022.”
AHA General Counsel and Secretary Melinda Hatton said the ruling will help hospitals provide much-needed services to the communities they serve.
“We continue to urge the administration to promptly reimburse all the hospitals that were affected by these unlawful cuts in previous years and to ensure the remainder of the hospital field is not penalized for their prior unlawful policy, especially as hospitals and health systems continue to deal with rising costs for supplies, equipment, drugs, and labor,” she said.
President Biden views The Supreme Court as biased and said so in at a recent fundraiser for a Delaware Democrat.
The President said, “I view this off-year election as one of the most important elections that I’ve been engaged in because a lot can change because the institutions have changed. The Supreme Court is more of an advocacy group these days.”
Que the “pack the court” crowd…