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AMA Supports Holding Lawmakers Accountable in Court for Medicaid Funding Reductions

U.S. Supreme Court should allow private parties lawsuits to enforce Medicaid's equal access mandate

For immediate release:
Sept. 30, 2011

Statement attributable to:
Peter W. Carmel, MD
President, American Medical Association

"Medicaid patients deserve the same access to high-quality medical care as people with private insurance, but the sad fact is that they often don't. In many states, Medicaid is breaking trust with those who rely on it. Medicaid's promise of equal access has become an illusion for many of America's most vulnerable citizens.

"Shoring up state budgets with politically expedient cuts to Medicaid funding has driven doctors and other health professionals from the program. Without an adequate network of caring health professionals, Medicaid patients will not receive the services guaranteed by the Medicaid Act.

"It is vital that Medicaid receive sufficient funding to enable the program to serve its purpose as a social safety net. State violations of federal law are allowed to go unchecked as long as patients and their doctors are barred from judicial steps to keep state officials honest regarding arbitrary cuts to Medicaid funding.

"To keep an already bad patient access situation from growing worse, the American Medical Association and others have supported the California Medical Association in their fight to hold state lawmakers accountable for failing to meet the needs of Medicaid patients. The AMA joined with organizations representing the nation's physicians and dentists and submitted a friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow private parties to sue to protect Medicaid's equal access mandate and prevent arbitrary cuts to Medicaid funding.”

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Contact:

Robert J. Mills
American Medical Association
(312) 464-5970

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