July 10, 2003
Neb. Ordered to Restore Medicaid Benefits
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 8:30 p.m. ET
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A federal appeals court Thursday ordered Nebraska to resume paying Medicaid benefits to about 10,000 single, working parents until a lawsuit is resolved over the state's decision to cut them from the program to save money.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit filed by two mothers but said they are likely to succeed. The court overturned a district judge's ruling that denied the plaintiffs temporary benefits while their case is pending.
During a special legislative session on the budget last year, lawmakers decided to cut them off from the program to save $18 million.
The state may appeal the decision, but the governor is unlikely to call another special session to deal with the matter, said Chris Peterson, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Johanns.
The attorney for the Medicaid recipients said he expected the state to settle the lawsuit quickly.
``I think they should read the writing on the wall,'' said Milo Mumgaard, director of the group that filed the suit. ``They will not win this case.''
The plaintiffs argue that federal law entitles them to continuing Medicaid coverage through Transitional Medical Assistance, a program that provides up to a year of additional health-care coverage for those terminated from Medicaid.
State Health and Human Services officials said they were not required to continue the coverage.
The women say they have chronic medical problems and are unable to work without the prescription drugs provided under Medicaid.
On The Net:
8th Circuit Opinion: http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opns/opFrame.html
Nebraska Health and Human Services System: http://www.hhs.state.ne.us/