Health care providers can't sue states when feel they're being shortchanged by Medicaid cuts, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.
Federal law places certain requirements on states that participate in Medicaid, and some providers argued that states are violating those requirements by cutting their Medicaid budgets too deeply.
But the Supreme Court rejected that claim Tuesday, saying in a 5-to-4 ruling that providers cannot sue their states in an attempt to enforce federal rules.
The suit was filed by a company in Idaho that provides habilitation services—in-home care for people with mental disabilities.
When Idaho cut Medicaid payments for those services, the company argued, it fell out of compliance with the federal Medicaid Act, which requires the states to "assure that payments are consistent with efficiency, economy, and quality of care and are sufficient to enlist enough providers so that care and services are available."
They cited the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which says federal law trumps conflicting state laws in many cases. But the Supremacy Clause doesn't allow private parties to bring lawsuits, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the court's majority Tuesday.
Providers should take up their complaints with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which approves states' Medicaid plans, he wrote.