Supreme Court to rule on Medicaid cuts

We may find out sooner than we had hoped for as to the legality of Obamacare. The ramifications are enormous. If the States cannot determine what they will pay for a service, the States are done. Medicaid is now bankrupting our States. Obamacare will add millions more on to the State’s rolls. Free market healthcare is otherwise dead. You don’t like what you get paid from the State? Then don’t treat these patients. The Supremo’s are not expediting the case, so it will not get heard till fall, it is reported. Would have liked to see this thing settled.

Justices will hear three appeals from California, where the state has cut back Medicaid payments to doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. Those providers have successfully sued to block the cutbacks, but lawyers for the state say they have no right to sue or to demand a particular payment.

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear an appeal from California officials and decide whether states are free to reduce how much they pay to doctors, hospitals and other providers under the Medicaid program for poor people.

Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal government and the states, but it is unclear how far states that are facing huge healthcare costs can go to reduce their spending on their own.

The California Legislature, responding to the state’s fiscal emergency, approved in recent years a series of cutbacks in the payments to physicians, hospitals and pharmacies. The aim was to save billions of dollars in Medicaid costs.

But in each case, the providers have sued in federal court and won rulings that blocked the cutbacks on the grounds that they conflicted with the Medicaid law. The providers argued that if the cutbacks were approved, the state would not provide the level of care required under Medicaid.

But lawyers for then-Attorney General Jerry Brown appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that these private parties had no right to sue the state and no right to a particular reimbursement payment.

La Times

The state officials in those cases also sought to raise other issues, about the steps that state officials must take, under federal Medicaid law, before they may cut benefit levels.  The Court opted not to hear those questions, limiting its review to the same question in each case: that is, whether Medicaid recipients and providers may sue state officials, relying upon the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, to enforce federal Medicaid law as preempting state law-based reductions of reimbursement for care of the poor. More Scotus Blog

IRS to beef up whistleblower program-turn your family, boss in!

Unhappy with a family member? Had a bad day at the office? Now you can make them spin in the wind. Now the lawyers go into a feeding frenzy. Here you go:

The Internal Revenue Service, reversing an earlier position, proposed rules making it more likely informants will collect a reward when they blow the whistle on tax-dodging employers, neighbors or family members.

The agency proposed regulations today that make it easier for whistleblowers whose information results in denial of refunds or a reduction in deductible losses to get rewards of as much as 30% of the amount involved. Earlier guidance tied reward payments to a portion of additional taxes paid as a result an informant’s tip.

Congress enhanced the IRS whistleblower program in 2006 to increase rewards and mandate the agency pay more of them. Under the law, whistleblowers may collect 15% to 30% of taxes collected as a result of the information they provided. Tips, many claiming cases of fraud involving more than $2 million, have poured in since.

The 2006 law spurred a legal industry built around submitting claims.

After the law was enacted, the Miami-based Ferraro Law Firm, which had specialized in personal-injury cases involving cancers related to asbestos, opened a Washington office that recruits and represents clients making whistleblower claims. The firm has said it made several claims alleging more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes.  More Financial Advisor

G.E. to Share Jet Technology With China in New Joint Venture

Buried last week in stories of the Chinese coming to town were the comments, “new trade deals will be announced”. Not too subtle would you say? I was wondering how much it cost us for Obama to get some nice pics with them.

Forget the cavalier attitude of the piece that we will no doubt give away secrets, forget that our government is working hand in glove with China. Obama is showing them our love.

Here is the operative section of this story from the NY times;

G.E., which said it had briefed the commerce, defense and state departments on details of the deal, acknowledges that pairing up with a Chinese firm is a delicate dance. But because the commercial aircraft market in China is expected to generate sales of more than $400 billion over the next two decades, it is not a party the company is willing to miss.

As China strives for leadership in the world’s most advanced industries, it sees commercial jetliners — planes that may someday challenge the best from Boeing and Airbus — as a top prize.

And no Western company has been more aggressive in helping China pursue that dream than one of the aviation industry’s biggest suppliers of jet engines and airplane technology, General Electric.

G.E., in the partnership with a state-owned Chinese company, will be sharing its most sophisticated airplane electronics, including some of the same technology used in Boeing’s new state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner.

For G.E., the pact is a chance to build upon an already well-established business in China, where the company has booming sales of jet engines, mainly to Chinese airlines that are now buying Boeing and Airbus planes. But doing business in China often requires Western multinationals like G.E. to share technology and trade secrets that might eventually enable Chinese companies to beat them at their own game — by making the same products cheaper, if not better.

The other risk is that Western technologies could help China play catch-up in military aviation — a concern underscored last week when the Chinese military demonstrated a prototype of its version of the Pentagon’s stealth fighter, even though the plane could be a decade away from production. Full story here: NY Tines

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