Jenkins v. DHCF

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Jenkins v. Utah Department of Health. Filed May 13, 1999 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS

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Lyle C. Jenkins,
Petitioner and Appellant,

v.

Utah Department of Health, Division of Health Care Financing,
Respondent and Appellee.

MEMORANDUM DECISION
(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 990069-CA

F I L E D
May 13, 1999
  1999 UT App 166 -----

Original Proceeding in this Court

Attorneys:
Lyle C. Jenkins, West Jordan, Appellant Pro Se
Jan Graham and Jean P. Hendrickson, Salt Lake City, for Appellee

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Before Judges Wilkins, Davis, and Jackson.

PER CURIAM:

Jenkins appeals the agency's order assessing a $302.00 monthly "spenddown" as a condition to him receiving Medicaid benefits. We affirm.

Because Jenkins's monthly income is over the federal poverty level, he does not qualify for the poverty level Medicaid program which does not have a spenddown requirement. Rather, he qualifies for the traditional program which has a spenddown requirement. Though we are sympathetic to Jenkins's situation, it is the prerogative of Congress and the Legislature, not the courts, to set the guidelines and conditions for receiving Medicaid benefits. As the U. S. Supreme Court concluded in Schweiker v. Hogan, 457 U.S. 569, 73 L. Ed. 227, 102 S. Ct. 2597 (1982), it is not unconstitutional for Congress to distinguish between those who are "medically needy" (Jenkins) and those who are "categorically needy": In choosing to require coverage only for the categorically needy, Congress permitted States to exclude from the program many persons who--by reason of large medical expenses--often were just as much in need of medical assistance as the categorically needy. Yet Congress found these persons "less needy." By reason of the greater income available to them, as a class these persons generally are better able to provide for their medical needs. * * * * * In other words, it is rational to define need on the basis of income, even though some persons with greater income--who have been unable or unwilling to save enough of their earnings to prepare for future medical needs--may actually be in greater need of assistance than those with less gross income. Although some "medically needy" persons have less income available for nonmedical expenses than those who receive categorical assistance, the broad legislative classification does not involve the type of arbitrariness that is constitutionally offensive. 457 U.S. at 590 (citation omitted). The U.S. Supreme court concluded by saying that "without endorsing the wisdom of the particular standard that Congress selected--a matter that is not for us to consider--we conclude that it violates no constitutional command." Id. at 593. The same is true of the instant case. Though the rules may seem unfair as applied to Jenkins and others close to the cutoff level, they do not violate constitutional mandates.

Accordingly, the agency's spenddown order is affirmed.

Jenkins has attempted to add other parties to this appeal who were not involved in the proceedings below. To the extent that they have not been previously dismissed, those parties are hereby dismissed. The only proper parties to this appeal are listed in the caption.
 
 

______________________________
Michael J. Wilkins,
Presiding Judge
 
 

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James Z. Davis, Judge
 
 

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Norman H. Jackson, Judge