The AHA and three member hospitals today urged the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to require the Health and Human Services Secretary to clear the Medicare appeals backlog at the administrative law judge level within five years, as its earlier order in the case had required, saying the agency has failed to show that it cannot meet the requirement. An appeals court last August rescinded the court’s earlier order but left the lower court free to reinstate the same requirement if HHS fails to demonstrate it is “impossible” to comply. “The only thing that the D.C. Circuit remanded for the Court to do is to resolve the Secretary’s contention that it is impossible for him to comply with the mandamus order that the Court entered,” AHA and the hospitals said in a brief filed in the federal district court. “In trying to relitigate – explicitly, at points – whether mandamus should issue at all, the Secretary concedes just how weak his impossibility case is.”