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“Supreme Law”—for Medicaid Patients or Just Business?

By Simon Lazarus

Does the supremacy clause empower individual beneficiaries to redress in court state violations of Medicaid or other federal spending clause–based statutory requirements—the same way it does for business interests? Wos v. E.M.A, a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision, finds that the answer is yes. The supremacy clause authorizes preemption by a federal spending clause–based law that contains no express right of action. This decision’s reasoning will likely curtail lower courts’ reliance on the dissent in last year’s Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California Inc.

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