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National Law Journal Names Stephen McBrady a Winning Litigator and D.C. Trailblazer

Partner Recognized for Supreme Court Win in Affordable Care Act Risk Corridors Case

Washington – September 11, 2020: The National Law Journal has named partner Stephen J. McBrady to its Winning Litigator and D.C. Trailblazer lists for 2020 for his role in securing victories in a series of high-profile Affordable Care Act cases.

McBrady served as counsel for Maine Community Health Options and a dozen other companies at the U.S. Supreme Court in Maine Community Health Options et al. v. United States, which held the United States responsible for $13 billion in damages as a result of its failure to pay healthcare companies under the ACA “risk corridors” program.

The Winning Litigators feature recognizes lawyers who have tackled some of the most widely watched cases of the year. The D.C. Trailblazers are lawyers who have “made significant marks on the practice, policy, and technological advancement of their practice.”

In the Maine case, McBrady, a member of Crowell & Moring’s Government Contracts Group steering committee, led a team that analyzed case law dating back to the 1870s to resolve a critical question: What happens when the law (in this case, the ACA) mandates that the government make payments, but Congress has not appropriated funds to the cognizant federal agency? McBrady and his team argued that the payments were mandated by statute, and that Congress’ failure to appropriate money to satisfy a statutory obligation may prevent agencies like HHS from making payment, but does not relieve the United States of its obligation. The Supreme Court’s 8-1 decision reversed the Federal Circuit, resulting in a landmark decision in favor of Crowell & Moring’s clients. “We have the benefit of a multidisciplinary team with incredibly deep experience in government contracts, health care, and administrative law, and were able to bring all of those capabilities to bear in these cases,” McBrady said.

McBrady told the National Law Journal of his Maine win: “It was really important to our clients to win. But it was equally important to us that we not burn a bridge and that we remain a faithful good partner of the United States. All we were asking for was that the United States do the same.”

The full list of Winning Litigators can be viewed here, and the list of D.C. Trailblazers can be viewed here.


Christine Elfmann
Senior Communications Manager