National hospital groups urged the U.S. Supreme Court last Friday to review and reverse a federal appellate decision upholding a steep cut in hospitals’ Medicare Part B reimbursement for 340B-purchased drugs.
The American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and America’s Essential Hospitals’ May 28 brief was in response to the federal government’s May 13 brief urging the high court to leave the lower court’s decision alone. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 in late July 2020 that the U.S. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services acted reasonably and within its statutory authority in imposing the nearly 30 percent cut in 2018. The appeals court in October denied the hospital groups’ motion for a rehearing. The groups asked the Supreme Court to take the case in February.
“If the court of appeals’ decision remains undisturbed, section 340B hospitals will continue to lose about $1.6 billion annually, damaging their ability to serve the vulnerable communities that depend on them,” the hospital groups told the justices in their brief last week. Leaving the decision intact also “will be interpreted as a green light for agencies to stretch the limits of their authority through creative exploitation of even the most ancillary statutory ambiguities, and for reviewing courts to subject those agency actions to minimal scrutiny,” they warned.
“A great deal is therefore at stake,” the groups said.
A decision by the court to accept the case is considered a significant long shot.