Filed: September 22, 2022
Court: U.S. Supreme Court
Overview: Amicus brief explaining the importance of individuals having the ability to sue state and local governments when their civil rights are violated under Medicaid and other public programs.
Excerpt: The linkage between the RA’s and the ADA’s antidiscrimination mandate and Medicaid provisions implementing that mandate is evidence that Congress intended both aspects of its disability-rights scheme to be privately enforceable. That conclusion is bolstered by the fact that Congress, when enacting the ACA, broadened Medicaid’s “entitlement” provisions by expanding the definition of “medical assistance.” Congress did so in direct response to judicial decisions narrowly construing that term in § 1983 suits brought by people with disabilities. Petitioners’ request that this Court abandon its longstanding holding that Spending Clause legislation can give rise to a private right of action under § 1983 would undermine Congress’s scheme for enforcing disability rights. People with disabilities, including children, regularly bring private lawsuits to enforce each of their independent, mutually reinforcing entitlements under the RA, the ADA, and Medicaid. Those lawsuits have vindicated important rights, providing access to life-saving therapies and everyday living support services close to one’s family and community. Absent a private right of action to enforce their Medicaid guarantees, enforcement of Medicaid would be left to the federal government, which may have few enforcement options other than reduction of States’ Medicaid funding. That may exacerbate rather than remedy States’ failure to comply with Medicaid’s requirements.
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