MIAMI — A federal judge refused Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges Florida provides inadequate care to children in its Medicaid program, despite state claims that privatizing the program will resolve many of the problems.
The state argued that a massive statewide overhaul to privatize Medicaid will raise reimbursement rates, improve doctor participation and address allegations that children can’t get doctor appointments. Attorneys for the state said the lawsuit, which was filed nine years ago, has become moot because of the Medicaid privatization. Statewide enrollment for most children began in May and ends in August.
Judge Adalberto Jordan said the changes are promising, but added there are too many unknowns about whether the program will actually improve access to medical care to dismiss the case.
Under privatization, the state pays insurance companies a set fee to provide care and the companies must follow standards. However, Jordan said it will be some time before it’s clear whether insurers follow through.