Patients, Groups Sue Medicare over Service Cuts

By Staff | January 18, 2011 | 5:10 PM EST

Montpelier, Vt. (AP) - Five New England residents and five national health care advocacy groups are suing the federal government, saying Medicare benefits are being cut improperly after their conditions are determined to be chronic.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Burlington on behalf of people from Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut targets what it calls an unofficial condition of eligibility.

That means that if a patient's condition is medically stable, benefits can be reduced or the person may be found ineligible for them. The lawsuit says the standard has never gone through an official federal rule-making process.

There's no immediate comment from the federal Department of Health and Human Services.