The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Florida in a case where the state sought to recover Medicaid payouts from an accident victim's injury settlement.
The decision, affirming an appeals court ruling, was 7-2 with conservative Justice Clarence Thomas writing the majority opinion backed by Chief Justice John Roberts, conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and liberal Justice Elena Kagan.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, who is resigning at the end of this session, were in dissent of the opinion.
"The Supreme Court rules 7-2 in favor of Florida's Medicaid program in a dispute over how much money the state can take from an accident victim's private tort settlement in order to recover costs of the victim's medical care," the SCOTUS Blog tweeted Monday.
The case centered on Gianinna Gallardo being permanently disabled when she was hit by a truck stepping off a Florida school bus. Gallardo, through her parents, sued the trucking company for medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages.
"In 2008, a truck struck then-13-year-old petitioner Gianinna Gallardo after she stepped off her school bus," the case read. "Gallardo suffered catastrophic injuries and remains in a persistent vegetative state."
The future medical expenses was the issue at stake, because Medicaid requires recouping of payments for care.
"The question presented is whether §1396k(a)(1)(A) permits a state to seek reimbursement from settlement payments allocated for future medical care," the majority opinion read. "We conclude that it does."
The dissent argued the ruling will ultimately limit a state's ability to recoup Medicaid expenses because those permanently disabled will be less incentivized to sue for future medical costs because the money will merely go to Medicaid anyway.
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