Here’s news only Fort Smith magnate Michael Morton and his buddies in the nursing home industry could love.

The Trump administration is preparing to roll back an Obama administration rule that cut off Medicaid payments to nursing homes (Medicaid is the primary supplier of money to nursing homes in Arkansas) that force residents to sign arbitration agreements. This means they can’t sue if disputes over care arise.


as law professor and health policy expert Nicholas Bagley notes, arbitration tends “to favor the repeat players who hire them — companies, not consumers.” Several studies have found that forced arbitration typically produces worse outcomes for consumers and workers. An Economic Policy Institute study of employment cases, for example, found that employees are less likely to prevail before an arbitrator, and that they typically receive less money if they do prevail

Arbitration agreements are in wide use in Arkansas. Nursing homes hope to further tilt the playing field in their favor by voter passage of a constitutional amendment that sets a low value on an old nursing home resident’s life and limits attorney fees for any still willing to represent someone victimized by nursing home negligence or abuse.