Eighth Circuit Shoots Down Medicaid Appeals To Federal Court

Posted on: January 3rd, 2012 by Lawrence A. Friedman

In our June 21, 2011 entry, we noted that 1971′s, Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971) United States Supreme Court decision generally requires federal courts to abstain from certain cases that implicate important state concerns, but a case then pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit would test whether the Younger doctrine precludes federal courts from considering Medicaid appeals.

Last month, the Eighth Circuit ruled in Hudson v. Campbell (8th Cir., No. 10–3025, Dec. 15, 2011) that United States District Court should not consider a Medicaid applicant’s appeal from Medicaid denial where the applicant goes directly to federal court without going through Medicaid’s fair hearing process. Applying the Younger doctrine, the Eighth Circuit held that abstention is appropriate where the Medicaid applicant hasn’t exhausted her administrative remedies because the state has an important interest in administering Medicaid. The Medicaid applicant’s attorney, Nathan Forck maintains that the Eighth Circuit ruling conflicts with a ruling in a United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit case involving similar circumstances. Thus, the issue eventually may end up at the Supreme Court. The Medicaid applicant’s initial brief can be accessed at while the applicant’s reply to the Medicaid agency’s brief is available at

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