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US Supreme Court to hear Indiana Medicaid case; grassroots agencies push back

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Supreme Court could use a case from Indianapolis to make dramatic changes to Medicaid rights. Opponents say a a vote in favor would hurt people with disabilities and other low-income patients.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County appeal on Nov. 8, election day. A series of grassroots organization are trying to stop it from happening.

This case stems from ties back to Gorgi Talevski’s death in a nursing home. He’d been living with dementia. His family claimed a county run facility didn’t provide adequate care, resulting in his death

Tracy Hutchins-Goetz of Hoosier Action said, “I think it’s definitely getting a lot more press and a lot more attention right now because the supreme court announced that it will be heard, or scheduled to be heard.” One of the many grassroots organizations pushing back against the petition.

Health and Hospital argues, they took necessary steps to restrain and medicate to keep Talevski and staff safe. The case before the high court could put extreme new limits on Medicaid recipients, and their chances to sue over Medicaid decisions.

“It really is quite dangerous for the amount of people that it would impact,” Hutchins-Goetz said.

According to the brief filed on behalf of Health and Hospital, it instead opens the doors to dissatisfied residents to go around policy and file suit. Opponents say they find further conflict, that Health and Hospital — could petition the high court without a vote from its board.

“We see that over and over again at the disability community is often clearer and more vulnerable when issues of rights come up.”

Depending on how the court acts, opponents say people with disabilities and low-income Hoosiers could be more at risk for abuse, mistreatment, neglect and more.

“What this case is really about is both our civil rights and this question of ‘Do you have rights if you can’t enforce them?” Hutchings-Goetz said.

Next Tuesday, several grassroots organizations plan to attend the Health and Hospital board meeting, to try to convince them to withdraw the petition while they have time.