The industry groups hope the Supreme Court will agree to hear one of the pending appeals and then rule that the federal benefits law erects a barrier to all lawsuits in state courts.
But the justices have struggled over the issue. While federal law governs employee benefits, matters of insurance and medical care are typically governed by state law.
In the New York case, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the health-care plan's decision to deny Carmine Cicio a transfusion may have "violated a state law duty of professional care." If so, the appeals court said, his widow had the right to sue for damages for this negligent medical care.
In its appeal in Vytra Healthcare vs. Cicio, the managed care network urged the high court to reverse this ruling and to make clear that state court juries are not empowered to second-guess the decisions made by a health-care network.