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Federal Judge Rules Florida In Violation Of Medicaid Laws For Kids

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After nearly a decade-long fight, a federal judge ruled that Florida’s Medicaid program violates several federal laws when it comes to healthcare for children.

Judge Adalberto Jordan found the care provided through the insurance program for the poor failed to “promote quality of care or equal access” for kids.

In his 153-page ruling, Jordan wrote that the most significant, though not sole, reason was financial: The state’s Medicaid budget was set so low that payouts to doctors were far below market rate for their services. Because of this, many doctors chose not to accept the insurance plan instead and avoid being forced to accept those lower payments.

This meant less care for children.

Howard Talenfeld, director of the statewide child advocacy group Florida’s Children First, says this is a landmark case.

“We have not seen anything like this since the 1990s,” says Telenfeld. “What this judge has done is he has recognized that there are certain basic principles that the State of Florida must follow if it’s going to accept Medicaid money.”

Judge Jordan will set a hearing for how to remedy the current care system by the end of January.