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Trial date set in the challenge to Florida's Medicaid 'redetermination' process


A lawsuit over people being dropped from Medicaid after the public health emergency will begin May 3, according to an order by Jacksonville-based U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard.

A federal judge has scheduled a trial May 13 in a lawsuit over people being dropped from Florida’s Medicaid program after the end of a federal public health emergency that was declared in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jacksonville-based U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard issued an order last week scheduling the trial, according to a court docket.

Attorneys for Medicaid beneficiaries filed a potential class-action lawsuit in August, alleging that the state was not properly informing people before dropping them from the health care program. They filed an amended version of the lawsuit in January.

The lawsuit is rooted in last spring’s end of the federal public health emergency. Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal and state governments, and Washington agreed to pick up more of the tab for the program as part of the emergency. 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 5.78 million in April 2023. At least in part, the increase stemmed from the program being unable to drop people who otherwise might not qualify because of their income levels.

After the end of the public health emergency, the state has used what is known as an eligibility “redetermination” process. That process led to hundreds of thousands of people being dropped from the program.

As of February, enrollment was about 4.8 million, according to data posted on the state Agency for Health Care Administration website.