Miami-Dade County

Medicaid lawsuit in Florida delayed again

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. AP

A long running lawsuit alleging deficiencies in the way Florida handles Medicaid for children has been delayed again after the state filed two motions days before a federal judge was supposed to issue a final ruling on the case.

The class-action suit, filed by the Florida Pediatric Society in 2005, accused Florida health officials of failing to provide essential medical and dental services to children on Medicaid. A trial ended in 2012.

In motions filed last week, lawyers for Florida’s Office of the Attorney General argued that recent changes to the state’s Medicaid system required by the federal Affordable Care Act, as well as the state’s move to a managed-care system, had addressed the plaintiffs’ complaints. The state asked Judge Adalberto Jordan, who had planned to rule at the end of October, to allow it to present new evidence in the case.

In a response filed in court earlier this week, an attorney for the plaintiffs, Stuart Singer of Fort Lauderdale, criticized the motions, writing that the state was essentially “asking for an entirely new trial.” Jordan is expected to rule on the state’s motions in the next few weeks. If he denies the motions, he will also likely issue his final decision on the suit.

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

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