Health Care

Judge rules state cannot present new evidence in Medicaid lawsuit

Dr. Marie-Denise Gervais talks to Amos LeClerc as she performs an examination on him at a clinic in a Miami high school this summer. More than 50 percent of Medicaid recipients in Florida are under the age of 18, according to state officials.
Dr. Marie-Denise Gervais talks to Amos LeClerc as she performs an examination on him at a clinic in a Miami high school this summer. More than 50 percent of Medicaid recipients in Florida are under the age of 18, according to state officials. Associated Press

A federal judge has ruled the state of Florida cannot present new evidence in a long-running lawsuit about the state’s Medicaid program.

The class-action suit, filed in 2005 by the Florida Pediatric Society, alleged that children on Medicaid in Florida were not receiving essential medical and dental benefits, in part because the state reimbursed pediatricians at low rates.

In October, days before U.S. Appeals Judge Adalberto Jordan was expected to make his final ruling, attorneys for the state Agency for Health Care Administration filed a motion arguing that Florida health officials had recently improved the state’s Medicaid system and asked to present new evidence.

But last week Jordan ruled that it was too soon to tell if the changes had addressed the plaintiffs’ complaints and that the case needed to move forward. “There must be a point at which the evidentiary record . . . is closed,” Jordan wrote. “We have long since passed that stopping point.”

This article was produced in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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