MIAMI — A federal judge has ruled that Florida’s health care system for impoverished and disabled children violates several U.S. laws.
In a ruling Wednesday, U.S. Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan said lawmakers had for years set the state’s Medicaid budget at an artificially low level, causing pediatricians and other specialists for children to opt out of the insurance program for the needy.
Jordan said that amounted to rationing of care and exacerbated a shortage of pediatricians, particularly in rural areas.
“This is a great day for the children in this state,” said Dr. Louis B. St. Petery, a Tallahassee pediatrician who is executive vice president of the Florida Pediatric Society and helped spearhead a 2005 lawsuit against Florida’s Department of Health, Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration.