- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has declined to halt Iowa’s efforts to turn over management of its Medicaid program to private insurers.

Two companies failing to win bids to help administer the program sued seeking to halt the transition to managed care which is now expected to begin in March.

Aetna Better Health and Meridian Health Plan claimed the bidding process was rigged and the state should do it over again. They were joined by WellCare, which initially won a contract but was disqualified in December for unfair bidding practices.

Polk County judge Robert Blink says in his ruling Friday the companies failed to show they’d suffer irreparable harm if the plan went forward and further delaying implementation would cause confusion and uncertainty for the 560,000 Medicaid members and their medical providers.

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