On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Health and Hospital Corp. v. Talevski, a case that centers on whether individuals have a private right of action against state entities who deliver federally funded benefits—specifically, whether Medicaid beneficiaries can seek relief in federal court when they believe their rights are being violated by state officials, or whether enforcement of state compliance with federal Medicaid rules should be left solely to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The implications of this case could extend beyond the Medicaid program to other programs authorized under the Spending Clause of the Constitution such as the Children’s Health Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Benjamin Snyder, assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, argued for a narrower decision enforcing the availability of a private right of action while arguing it is simultaneously not available in this singular case. The Court’s questions focused on the history of Section 1983, a civil rights statute that has long provided a mechanism for individuals to enforce the rights provided to them under federal programs, and whether the availability of administrative remedies preclude the ability for individuals to seek a 1983 claim. Justice Roberts, representing a crucial swing vote, seemed skeptical of the argument emphasizing the high bar required for Section 1983 claims.
The Court’s decision will be issued later in its term, which ends in June 2023.
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