No obvious winner in Supreme Court hospital bill ruling

    At least one attorney involved in the hospital bill controversy between the city of Imperial and Chase County said he’s still processing last week’s Supreme Court opinion.
    City Attorney Josh Wendell of Ogallala said both entities spent a lot of time and money to get a decision that he believes says “we have to start over.”
    In Wendell’s view, that’s the gist of last Friday’s opinion posted on the Nebraska Supreme Court’s website.
    However, Wendell said the justices noted the county did not provide adequate “showing” in the case, or proof that the arrested individual couldn’t pay for the $436 exam and that he had no insurance.
    The statute(s) the justices were asked to reference on this issue, “places primary responsibility on the recipient (of the services) or the recipient’s insurer,” they wrote.
    In other words, the first step in the process when a medical exam is required before a prisoner is jailed, according to state law, is to determine if he or she can pay for the exam, either out-of-pocket, through his/her insurance or other government programs, Wendell said.

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