I’ve spilt many pixels writing about the constitutional challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which are now nearly certain to end up in the just-commenced 2011–12 term of the Supreme Court. But there’s another important health-care lawsuit on the high court’s docket, one that pits the Obama administration against congressional and California Democrats. It’s Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California, a case that gets at the fundamental flaw in the humanitarian catastrophe known as Medicaid. That is: What should you do when you can’t make two plus two equal seven?
Numerous studies show that many Medicaid patients have worse outcomes than those with no health insurance at all. This is in large part driven by the fact that Medicaid severely underpays physicians and hospitals for the cost of treating Medicaid patients. As a result, many doctors don’t take appointments from Medicaid patients, leaving our nation’s poorest without access to essential health care.
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