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Mayhew v. Burwell

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

November 17, 2014

MARY C. MAYHEW, in her capacity as Secretary of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Petitioner,
v.
SYLVIA M. BURWELL, in her capacity as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Respondent, and JANET T. MILLS, in her capacity as Attorney General of Maine, Intervenor

PETITION FOR REVIEW FROM A DECISION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.

Clifford H. Ruprecht, with whom Christopher T. Roach, Geraldine G. Sanchez, and Roach, Hewitt, Ruprecht, Sanchez & Bischoff, P.C. were on brief, for petitioner.

Alisa B. Klein, Appellate Staff Attorney, with whom Beth S. Brinkmann, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Mark B. Stern, Appellate Staff Attorney, Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General, William B. Schultz, General Counsel, Janice L. Hoffman, Associate General Counsel, Susan Maxson Lyons, Deputy Associate General Counsel for Litigation, and Bridgette Kaiser were on brief, for respondent.

Christopher C. Taub, Assistant Attorney General, with whom Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, was on brief, for intervenor.

Martha Jane Perkins, Catherine McKee, and Jack Comart on brief for National Health Law Program, Maine Equal Justice Partners, Maine Psychological Association, Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Maine Medical Association, Preble Street, Maine Children's Alliance, and Young Invincibles, amici curiae.

Before Lynch, Chief Judge, Selya and Barron, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 81

LYNCH, Chief Judge.

After providing Medicaid coverage for over 20 years for 19- and 20-year old children whose families met low-income requirements, in 2012, Maine DHHS[1] sought

Page 82

to drop that coverage by proposing an amendment to its Medicaid state plan. The federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary disapproved the amendment, stating that it plainly violates a federal statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(gg), part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (" ACA" ), Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010). Section 1396a(gg) requires states accepting Medicaid funds to maintain their Medicaid eligibility standards for children until October 1, 2019.

Maine DHHS now petitions for review, arguing that the federal disapproval is unconstitutional. It says that under portions of National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius (NFIB), 132 S.Ct. 2566, 183 L.Ed.2d 450 (2012), § 1396a(gg) as applied here is unconstitutionally coercive in violation of the Spending Clause and, independently, that it violates Maine's right to equal sovereignty as recognized in Shelby County v. Holder, 133 S.Ct. 2612, 186 L.Ed.2d 651 (2013), and like cases.

The United States says the statute as applied here is constitutional, fitting easily within congressional spending power to condition federal Medicaid grants. The Attorney General of Maine, Janet T. Mills, as interested party-intervenor, argues that the rejection of Maine DHHS's proposed amendment is constitutional. And amici health professionals ...


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