The Supreme Court of the United States has announced they will be taking up a legal battle related to a Florida Medicaid case regarding how much money a state can recoup after a legal settlement.
The issue revolves around Gianinna Gallardo, who was struck by a bus in 2008 and suffered drastic injuries. Gallardo’s parents reached an $800,000 legal settlement, and the accident left Gallardo in a vegetative state.
In 2017, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker sided with the parents by saying the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, who facilitates Florida’s Medicaid program, should only be permitted to recover money deriving for only “past medical expenses.” AHCA originally only recovered $35,000.
However, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals determined the AHCA was entitled to $300,000 of the settlement. AHCA has said the 11th Circuit Court reached the correct decision, but the Supreme Court must confirm the decision to end the conflict. If not, AHCA would be defying a Florida Supreme Court decision saying AHCA was only entitled to recover money in a settlement for past medical expenses.
“The uncertainty on the issue affects millions of Americans who rely on Medicaid for health care coverage,” attorneys for Gallardo’s parents wrote in a statement in March. “A beneficiary’s federal Medicaid rights should not depend on whether she lives in Idaho, West Virginia or Massachusetts. But until this (Supreme) Court resolves the question presented, identically situated Medicaid beneficiaries will receive different treatment under federal law.”
Attorneys for AHCA will be trying to persuade the Supreme Court to reach the same decision as the 11th Circuit Court and if they decided otherwise, there could be dire financial implications.
“Every state has passed some type of third-party recovery statute to comply with the mandates of the (federal) Medicaid Act,” the petition said. “Unless and until this (Supreme) Court resolves the conflict, the states and their legislatures cannot know what federal law requires of them. There is an urgent need for this court’s guidance on the question presented.”
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