2006 Law Containing Major Changes to Medicaid Rules Upheld

June 13, 2007 | Roger McEowen

 

On February 8, 2006, the President signed into law the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.  The bill made major changes to Medicare and Medicaid as well as provided additional relief to Hurricane Katrina victims, among other things.  But, the legislation had been challenged on Constitutional grounds because the identical bill had technically not passed both the House and the Senate.  One small part of the House version of the bill contained a clerk’s error, so the House and Senate bills were not identical.  That meant that the House and the Senate actually voted on different versions of the bill.  Under the Constitution, the same version of a bill must pass both chambers of the Congress before it can be signed into law by the President.  But, both the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate both signed the same version of the bill that the President signed.  As a result, the court ruled that the “enrolled bill” rule applied (in accordance with prior U.S. Supreme Court Precedent) and the judiciary was required to accept the bill as having passed the Congress.  Public Citizen v. United States District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 06-5232, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 12342 (D.C. Cir. May 29, 2007).