Child Health Organizations File Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Affirm Section 1983
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Led by Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, today the nation’s leading child health organizations filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States as the Court considers 42 U.S.C. § 1983’s application to Medicaid and other programs pursuant to Congress’s Spending Clause authority (see Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County, Indiana v. Talevski). The brief urges the Court to preserve the use of Section 1983 as a crucial remedy for ensuring children enrolled in Medicaid receive the benefits they are entitled to under federal law.
Despite clear congressional mandate for comprehensive coverage through Medicaid, some states have impermissibly restricted children’s access to medically necessary services, for example, delaying implementation of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment requirement, failing to enlist sufficient providers to ensure timely access to services or attempting to reduce costs by cutting or capping pediatric Medicaid benefits. Section 1983 is an essential part of Medicaid enforcement, and children, along with their parents and medical providers, have long relied on it to secure access to needed health care services.
A statutory entitlement to benefits means nothing if the entitlement is not enforceable. Without enforcement, children would lack assurance they will receive the benefits Congress conferred on them through the Medicaid program. Without enforcement, a child’s odds of surviving serious illness, successfully managing a chronic condition, achieving independence despite a congenital disability or preventing more complex health conditions later are severely diminished. Section 1983 must be affirmed as a longstanding safeguard for children’s rights under the Medicaid program.
View a list of quotes from the nation’s leading child health organizations.