Pharmacy groups to U.S. Supreme Court: Pharmacies have right to challenge Medicaid cuts

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Looking to challenge reimbursement rate reductions for Medicaid beneficiaries, pharmacy groups have filed a joint legal brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The brief was filed by the American Pharmacists Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations in the case of Douglas v. Independent Living Center of California.

The initial lawsuit — filed by pharmacies and other healthcare providers — argues that a 10% Medicaid reimbursement cut in California violates the federal patient access law, which provides that Medicaid reimbursement rates must be “sufficient to enlist enough providers so that care and services are available under the plan at least to the extent that such care and services are available to the general population in the geographic area….” The pharmacy groups argue that proposed cuts would threaten access to care for Medicaid patients.

The joint legal brief filed by the four pharmacy groups further argues that a long line of Supreme Court decisions support the right to challenge state actions that are inconsistent with federal laws, and challenges to inadequate Medicaid reimbursement rates must be allowed if they threaten patient access to pharmacy care.

The Supreme Court will hold a hearing in the case on Oct. 3, and may issue a decision later this year.

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