AARP Foundation Litigation:
- Kelly Bagby, Senior Attorney
- Stacy Canan, Senior Attorney
- Bruce Vignery, Senior Attorney
- Kenneth Zeller, Senior Attorney
The AFL Health Team focuses on issues designed to help older persons access affordable and quality health care and long-term services and support, particularly benefits under Medicare and Medicaid. Consistent with this effort, the team challenges fraudulent practices that drive up the cost of health care and endanger the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The team also challenges high prescription drug costs. For example, the team has filed amicus curiae briefs supporting state efforts to reign in pharmaceutical marketing practices that cause high costs, and in almost every significant patent case impacting prescription drug affordability in the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years. The team's attorneys continue to challenge the practice of “reverse payment” or “pay-for-delay” settlements, where pharmaceutical giants that hold the patent to expensive brand-name drugs pay generic drug makers to delay entry of less expensive generic drugs into the marketplace.
To help older and disabled persons age in place, the team works on cases that seek to rebalance the long-term services and support system to increase use of home and community-based services (also called HCBS) to help older people avoid being forced to receive long-term services and supports (LTSS) in institutional settings such as nursing homes. AFL pursues cases enforcing the Americans With Disabilities Act under the landmark case Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999) (“Olmstead”) against states that are most reliant on institutional care for Medicaid recipients receiving LTSS. Olmstead requires states to provide services in the most integrated community setting. AARP’s research demonstrates that older persons prefer to age at home and that HCBS is less expensive than nursing facility services. As some states face budget constraints, they are seeking short-term fixes, including making draconian cuts to their Medicaid-funded community-based services. The team has successfully prevented such cuts through litigation on behalf of people who would be placed at risk of entering a nursing home if such cuts were implemented.
AFL has filed amcius briefs opposing pre-dispute binding mandatory arbitration provisions in nursing home admission agreements. The arbitration provisions serve as an absolute bar to a person’s access to court even when there is a highly meritorious claim. In a related area, the team has filed amicus briefs in state courts challenging caps on damages for noneconomic injuries in medical malpractice and other personal injury cases. These are damages for things such as pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement and loss of the companionship of a spouse, all very important to an older person whose future income will be limited because they are either at or nearing the end of their years of employment.
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Find the most recent cases in which AFL has advocated in courts nationwide for the rights of older persons, and filed AARP’s amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs that help courts decide precedent-setting cases.
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