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Pediatricians Watch for Ruling in Billion-Dollar Medicaid Kids

Doctors and dentists who treat kids on Medicaid are watching closely for a ruling that could cost the cash-strapped state of Florida one billion dollars. 

The case is a class-action lawsuit that seeks to provide more access to preventive care. 

Tallahassee physician Louis St. Petery, vice president of the Florida Pediatric Society, says the suit is needed to strike down barriers to that care. 

"For example, Medicaid application is extremely complicated. Online, if you go to fill out a Medicaid application, there are, like, 50 screens. And that's pretty daunting for most folks." 

The lawsuit could be costly for the state, which might be forced to pay higher rates to doctors and dentists who treat Medicaid children. 

Now, said St. Petery, it costs more to treat those kids than the doctor or dentist earns. 

That makes it harder for families to find care.


"Many, many pediatricians are pulling back and decreasing the number of Medicaid patients they will see in order to maintain fiscal solvency. It's not an issue of making a lot of money – it's an issue of losing a lot of money, seeing that many Medicaid kids." 

The complicated case is pending before Judge Adalberto Jordan in Miami. 

St. Petery said the ruling could come any day – or months from now.