Supreme Court Challenges Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion Puts at Risk a Host of Other Federal-State Programs - Broad Coalition Files Amicus Brief
February 17, 2012
Washington -- February 17, 2012
Law Professor Samuel Bagenstos and attorneys with the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law filed an amicus (or friend of the court) brief today on behalf of a broad coalition of education, healthcare, veterans, child welfare, disability, women's sports, and other organizations, in Florida v. HHS. The Epilepsy Foundation joined this amicus brief.
The diverse coalition of 79 groups argues that this U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid eligibility jeopardizes a whole host of other federal-state programs and antidiscrimination protections that hinge on the U.S. Constitution's "Spending Clause."
"Florida and 25 other states in this case make a very dangerous argument with far-reaching implications," stated Professor Samuel Bagenstos who teaches at the University of Michigan Law School. "From federal foster care and child support enforcement programs to federal support for low-income schools, children, and participation of girls and young women in school sports teams -- much more is at stake here than just Medicaid."
The Constitution's Spending Clause allows Congress to offer states money with conditions to encourage states to participate in joint federal-state efforts to tackle societal challenges, such as education, child welfare, health care, highway safety, and discrimination, to name a few.
"If the state disagrees with the conditions tied to the federal money, the state can decline the money," stated Ira Burnim, legal director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. "The state will have to answer to its residents about why it declined federal money, but that is democracy -- not coercion."
"The Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid eligibility is constitutional," stated Linda D. Kilb, an attorney with the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. "If the Supreme Court holds that this expansion of Medicaid eligibility is unconstitutional, then an array of cooperative federal-state spending programs and antidiscrimination laws could become subject to constitutional challenge."