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Explaining Douglas v. Independent Living Center: Questions About the Upcoming United States Supreme Court Case Regarding Medicaid Beneficiaries’ and Providers’ Ability to Enforce the Medicaid Act

On October 3, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in a group of three cases, Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California, Douglas v. California Pharmacists Association, and Douglas v. Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. All three cases raise the same issue: whether Medicaid beneficiaries and providers can challenge a state law in federal court on the basis that it violates the federal Medicaid Act and therefore is “preempted” by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

This policy brief explains the major issues raised by the Douglas case, answers some key questions about the parties’ legal arguments, and considers potential effects of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Policy Brief (.pdf)