November 29, 2020

Volume X, Number 334


Victory for Medicaid Recipients

With congressional approval of the Budget Act early on the morning of Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, Medicaid enrollees will again receive justice in reimbursement of liens. Medicaid is a state-based program that pays for medical costs for those with limited resources. 

This action by Congress reinstates the effect of a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that held that Medicaid cannot have a right of first recovery for full reimbursement of covered medical costs before plaintiffs could receive any recovery for lost wages, non-economic damages or any other type of recovery. Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services et. al. v. Ahlborn.

The new budget allows Medicaid to seek reimbursement from Medicaid enrollees only from the portion of a settlement attributable to medical costs. 

This new law overturns a provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2013.  Since Oct. 1, 2014, the BBA allowed states to seek reimbursement from portions of personal injury recoveries beyond what is directly attributable to past medical expenses. This provision really amounted to an unfair tax on catastrophically disabled individuals who may be left with little to no recovery after payment of the unfair Medicaid lien. The Ahlborn decision had been universally lauded as promoting fair and proportionate settlements for Medicaid recipients.

Such action would not have been possible without the work of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) that worked tirelessly to attain this victory for a fair result. 

© 2020 by Clifford Law Offices PC. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 43



About this Author

Robert Clifford, Bob Clifford, Clifford Law Offices, Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Heath Care Fraud, Litigation, Chicago
Founder and Senior Partner

Bob Clifford is the founder of Clifford Law Offices, which concentrates its practice in helping victims of personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, consumer and health care fraud, product liability, and aviation and transportation disasters. Bob regularly handles complex damage cases and routinely receives multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements. One of Bob's most notable cases is the $35 million verdict for Rachel Barton, an internationally acclaimed violinist who was run over by a Metra train. In 2014, Bob was the lead negotiator in the $1.2 billion dollar settlement of...