Health Affairs   |  April 30, 2015

In its recent decision in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child, the United States Supreme Court held that providers (and, by implication, beneficiaries as well) may not turn to the courts for help in requiring that states live up to the minimum legal terms of the Medicaid statute. Although the decision was not unexpected (the Court decided to hear the case only three years after considering a similar suit), it nonetheless represents a fundamental shift in public policy. Over the half century of Medicaid’s existence, the courts have played a crucial role in ensuring that Medicaid’s words mean what they say.

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