Chief Justice Roberts Writes About How Medicaid Works

March 20th, 2013

Surprisingly, no citation to his opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius. Also, no mention of guns to the head in Wos v. E. M. A. But there is a citation to his late boss, Judge Henry Friendly:

Medicaid is a cooperative federal-state program designed to provide medical assistance to certain needy populations. The basic idea is simple: The statute—as interpreted by the Secretary of HHS—sets out the requirements for an eligible Medicaid program. If States decide to enroll and comply with those requirements, they get federal money. If they don’t, they don’t. The federal contribution is not enough to fully fund any State’s program; States contribute anywhere from 17 to 50 percent of the costs. See 42 U. S. C. §1396d(b) (2006 ed., Supp. V). The States have considerable discretion in structuring and administering their programs, subject of course to federal law and regulations. In practice, it’s not always so simple. The books are thick with federal regulations that States must interpret and reconcile. By my count, at least 39 federal-court opinions, including one of our own, have reiterated Judge Friendly’s observation that Medicaid law is “almost unintelligible to the uninitiated.”

And there’s a citation to a law review article by a former adminlaw prof from the University of Chicago:

The reasons for drawing a bright line, as North Carolina has, are obvious and familiar. See generally Scalia, The Rule of Law as a Law of Rules, 56 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1175 (1989).