Thursday, March 24, 2011
On March 16, Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District for the District of Columbia dismissed Hall v. Sebelius, claiming that the retirees cannot “dis-enroll” from Medicare Part A without losing Social Security benefits and also refunding all previous benefits paid to them. She acknowledged that the law does not specifically say that this should be the result, but congressional intent does. Congress enacted the 1965 law that created Medicare to provide ‘mandatory’ benefits under Medicare Part A for individuals receiving Social Security benefits. The plaintiffs plan to appeal.
This ruling could have implications for the cases currently challenging the individual mandate in the health reform law. Those plaintiffs argue that it is illegal for the government to compel citizens into economic activity, but Judge Collyer’s ruling suggests that the government has already been doing this for 46 years in the area of health care.
See You Can’t Opt Out of Medicare Without Losing Social Security, Judge Rules, ElderLawAnswers, Mar. 22, 2011.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (WealthCounsel) for bringing this to my attention.