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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides two Indiana cases today

In Sandra M. Bontrager v. Indiana FSSA (ND Ind., Simon), a 16-page opinion, Circuit Judge Kanne writes:

On May 5, 2011, Sandra M. Bontrager filed a putative class action complaint challenging Indiana’s $1,000 annual limit for dental services covered by Medicaid. The district court granted Bontrager’s request for a preliminary injunction, holding that Indiana is required to cover all medically necessary dental services, irrespective of the monetary cap. We affirm. * * *

The State’s potential budgetary concerns are entitled to our consideration, but do not outweigh the potential harm to Bontrager and other indigent individuals, especially when the State’s position is likely in violation of state and federal law. * * *

Although we are mindful of potential budgetary concerns, these interests do not outweigh Medicaid recipients’ interests in access to medically necessary health care. * * * The State cautions that it may end coverage of all dental services under its Medicaid plan if the $1,000 cap is no longer in place. Thus, this lawsuit may result only in a pyrrhic victory for the plaintiff. But the State’s likely violation of state and federal law cannot be ignored in order to preserve the status quo. Moreover, there are other avenues by which the State can limit its exposure to significant Medicaid costs. See, e.g., Moore ex rel. Moore v. Reese, 637 F.3d 1220, 1255 (11th Cir. 2011) (“A state may also limit required Medicaid services based upon its judgment of degree of medical necessity so long as such limitations do not discriminate on the basis of the kind of medical condition.”); Coleman, 687 N.E.2d at 368 (the State may limit coverage “by narrowing the definition of medical necessity”).

III. CONCLUSION. Because the balance of the factors weighs in favor of granting a preliminary injunction, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.

In US V. Spears (ND Ind., Lozano), a 24-page opinion, Circuit Judge Sykes concludes:
In sum, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to sustain Spears’s convictions on Counts 2 and 3 for aggravated identity theft and producing a false identification document, but insufficient to sustain his conviction on Count 4 for unlawfully possessing five or more false identification documents. As required by § 1028A(b)(2), the mandatory two-year sentence on Count 2 was imposed consecutively, but the sentences on the other counts were ordered to run concurrently. Although the sentence on the conviction we are reversing is concurrent to the sentences on the convictions that remain, “we cannot know whether the judge would have sentenced [Spears] differently in the absence of the [invalid § 1028(a)(3)] conviction.” United States v. Rappe, 614 F.3d 332, 334 (7th Cir. 2010). Spears is therefore “entitled to a shot at persuading the judge to give him a lighter sentence in view of the acquittal we are directing.” United States v. Shah, 559 F.3d 643, 644 (7th Cir. 2009); see also United States v. Dooley, 578 F.3d 582, 592 (7th Cir. 2009).

Accordingly, we AFFIRM Spears’s convictions for aggravated identity theft in violation of § 1028A(a)(1) and for producing a false identification document in violation of § 1028(a)(1). We REVERSE his conviction for unlawfully possessing five or more false identification documents in violation of § 1028(a)(3), VACATE his sentence, and REMAND for resentencing.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 26, 2012 12:49 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions