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A hearing date is set in the challenge to Florida's Medicaid 'redetermination'

 The Bryan Simpson United States courthouse in Jacksonville is in the Middle District of Florida and one of the country's 94 federal district courts.
Rachael Gregory
The Bryan Simpson United States courthouse in Jacksonville is in the Middle District of Florida and one of the country's 94 federal district courts.

A federal judge will hold a hearing Dec. 5 in a potential class-action lawsuit alleging Florida has not provided adequate information before dropping people from the Medicaid program during the post-pandemic “unwinding” process.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard will hear arguments in Jacksonville on a request for a preliminary injunction that would require Medicaid officials to reinstate coverage to people dropped from the program in recent months and to end additional terminations until adequate information is provided.

Also, the judge will hear arguments about certifying the case as a class action, according to a notice issued last week.

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Attorneys for Medicaid beneficiaries filed the lawsuit in August amid a process that the state started this spring to determine whether more than 5 million people enrolled in Medicaid remained eligible for benefits. The process was a result of the end of a federal COVID-19 public health emergency.

An Oct. 6 filing by attorneys for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Children & Families disputed that the state had violated beneficiaries’ rights and said the judge should deny the plaintiffs’ requests for an injunction and certification as a class action.

The federal government declared the public health emergency in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal and state governments. As part of the emergency, the federal government agreed to pick up more of the tab for the program. But in exchange for the extra money, states had to agree that they wouldn’t drop people from the Medicaid rolls during the emergency.

Florida’s program grew from about 3.8 million beneficiaries in January 2020 to nearly 5.8 million in April of this year, at least in part because people who might not otherwise be eligible for coverage could not be dropped.

With the end of the emergency, the state began what is known as a “redetermination” or “unwinding” process.

Copyright 2023 Health News Florida.

News Service of Florida
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