3/24/10 Judge Denies Motion to Reconsider
Judge Rosemary Collyer denied the government’s Motion to Reconsider the Motion to Dismiss the Medicare Lawsuit.
Defendants Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, and Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, ask the Court to reconsider its denial of their motion to dismiss. [...] Plaintiffs Brian Hall, John J. Kraus, and Richard K. Armey, retirees who want to receive Social Security benefits but not be required to participate in Medicare Part A, oppose. The motion will be denied.
Collyer noted of our primary argument:
When one becomes entitled to Social Security retirement benefits, one gets to choose whether to participate in that program or not. However, when one becomes entitled to hospital health insurance under Medicare, Part A, coverage is automatic and there is no choice. Plaintiffs essentially challenge SSA’s interpretation of “entitled” with respect to Medicare, Part A.
Further, Judge Collyer asks:
Since a retiree clearly has a choice as to whether to apply for and receive Social Security benefits — to which s/he is entitled — it is not at all clear why the same retiree does not, under the law and regulations, have a choice as to whether to apply for and receive Medicare, Part A, benefits. The “entitlement” language on which the Defendants seem to base their arguments is the same but, because of the POMS, the result is very different.
See Order Denying Motion to Reconsider for the complete text.
The judge ordered a scheduling conference for a status conference which was held 4/9/2010.