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Medical Malpractice


Medicaid payments and the court [below] erred in holding otherwise.


213 P.3d at 393-394 (emphasis added.) Tis aspect of the Matey decision is also wrong for many


reasons. First, contrary to the Matey court’s statement, the U.S. Supreme Court never “specifically stated that damages received for medical care [do] not constitute property subject to the anti-lien provisions.” In fact, the Ahlborn court was not actually presented with, and therefore did not decide, the question of whether a Medicaid recipient’s medical expense recovery could be reached by the State without violating the anti lien provisions of federal law. Rather, as described previously in this article, the parties assumed and the court did likewise – that federal law created an exception to the anti lien provisions with regard to that portion of a recipient’s recovery


attributable to past medical expenses paid by


Medicaid. Second, among the claims asserted by the Medicaid


recipient in Ahlborn was a claim for future medical expenses. Although the Supreme Court did not explicitly state that a claim for future medical expenses is a non assigned claim out of which the State may not satisfy


its recovery, the Court did specifically state that “[f ]ederal Medicaid law does not


authorize [the State] to assert a lien on [the recipient’s] settlement in an amount exceeding $35,581.47 [that portion of the recovery representing past medical expenses paid by Arkansas Medicaid], and the federal anti-lien provision affirmatively prohibits it from doing so. Arkansas’ third-party liability provisions are unenforceable insofar as they compel a different conclusion.” Id. at 292. In limiting Arkansas’ right of reimbursement to that portion of the recovery attributable to past medical assistance benefits actually paid by Medicaid, and thereby putting the recovery of future medical expenses beyond the State’s reach, the Supreme Court implicitly rejected the idea that Arkansas could attempt to satisfy its reimbursement claim out of damages intended to compensate for future medical expenses. In other words, the damage category of future medical expenses was indeed placed “off limits” by Ahlborn, notwithstanding the Matey court’s conclusion to the contrary. Tird, Matey is plainly inconsistent with another


Idaho Supreme Court decision issued only eight months before. In State of Idaho Department of Health and Welfare v. Hudelson, 196 P.3d 905 (2008), the court was confronted with competing claims by the State and a Medicaid Recipient to the proceeds of a tort recovery. Te Recipient claimed that the State’s recovery should be limited to the amount of the


Trial Reporter / Summer 2010 39


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