"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that a state’s Medicaid program can seek reimbursement from lawsuit settlement payments allocated for the future care of accident victims.

The court ruled 7-2 for the state of Florida in a case that turned on statutory construction. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion.

A member of the court’s liberal wing, Justice Elena Kagan, joined the court’s conservatives in the ruling for the state. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented and was joined by Justice Stephen Breyer.

The high court ruled in the case of Gianinna Gallardo, who was 13 years old in 2008 when a truck struck her as she stepped off the school bus. She remains in a persistent vegetative state.

Florida’s Medicaid agency had already paid more than $862,000 for Gallardo’s initial medical expenses. The agency still covers her medical expenses.

Gallardo received a lawsuit settlement of $800,000, with more than $35,000 expressly designated as payment for past medical expenses. No specific amount was listed as compensating future medical expenses."

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Categories: Supreme Court