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Daily Recap — June 3

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Big Day on the Court

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The Supreme Court ruled today that the Obamacare rule on how Medicare reimbursements are paid to hospitals should be removed because officials did not follow the proper notice and comment regulations in implementing the formula. 

One sentence in and my eyes are already bleeding.

The court ruled 7-1 to vacate the rule, with Justice Neil Gorsuch writing the majority opinion. Coochie-capped Stephen Breyer was the sole dissenting member of the court, while new Justice Kavanaugh recused himself from the case, since he had been part of reversing the ruling back in 2017.

The ruling is highly technical, so I’ll see if I can narrow it down to the meat and putaytuhs.

Back in 2014, the Obama administration sent out a notice to a bunch of hospitals that the formula used to calculate their payments for serving low-income patients had been changed. Due to the changes, smaller payments would be made on average. The hospitals sued, saying that the government didn’t give them proper notice before implementing the changes, as required by law.

Justice Gorsuch explains it this way:

“In 2014, the government revealed a new policy on its website that dramatically—and retroactively—reduced payments to hospitals serving low-income patients. Because affected members of the public received no advance warning and no chance to comment first, and because the government has not identified a lawful excuse for neglecting its statutory notice-and-comment obligations, we agree with the court of appeals that the new policy cannot stand.”

So, I suppose from here, the government will be forced to retain the previous payment formula unless and until it decides to implement the new formula with proper advance notice given.

Just goes to show, it truly is impossible to cut any government subsidy once it’s established — even when it comes from the Barry Soetoro crew.

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Meanwhile, in Bizzaro World

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Convoluted Medicare payment rulings weren’t the only thing kicking around the court today. The mythical beast known as bipartisanship is said to have reared its ugly head, or cautiously hopeful head, depending on one’s level of idealism.

The high court found that a criminal defendant can be sentenced for violating his supervised release even if the release expires while he is incarcerated ahead of facing new charges.

The justices, divided in the 5-4 decision, ruled against Jason Mont’s argument that a district court shouldn’t be able to charge him for violating his release because the term had expired at the time of the new sentencing.

And here’s the crazy part: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sided with conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh in the majority opinion. Justice Neil Gorsuch, on the other hand, joined liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and softball lesbian Elena Kagan in opposing the decision.

You heard that right, folks. Not only is RBG still kicking, she just out right-wing’d a Trump appointee. I don’t know what reality is anymore, assuming it exists at all. For all we know, we’re unwitting participants in some sort of comedic simulation.

As for the case, Mont had previously been convicted on felony drug and gun charges and served 84 months in prison before beginning a five-year supervised release due to end in March 2017.

However, he faced other charges in 2015 and 2016 and was incarcerated in state jail in June 2016. After several delays of a hearing, a district court heard and ruled that Mont had violated his supervised release and imposed another prison sentence.

Mont had opposed the new 42-month sentence, set to run after completing the sentence for his new charges, which he pleaded guilty to. He said that he shouldn’t face the new sentence because the court had repeatedly delayed the hearing until after the end date for his supervised release term.

Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion that “time in pretrial detention constitutes supervised release only if the charges against the defendant are dismissed or the defendant is acquitted.”

So in other words, charges don’t go away due to inconvenient timing.

And RBG got it across the finish line. Hey, maybe she could lecture Jared Kushner about law and order!

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