- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A Miami federal judge has approved a settlement ending a class-action lawsuit that alleged the state was violating federal mandates by failing to deliver critical health services to 2 million children on Medicaid.

Judge Adalberto Jordan approved the settlement Wednesday.

One of the biggest victories for the plaintiffs requires insurance plans to provide a “reasonable opportunity” for pediatricians to earn rates that are on par with Medicare, which typically pays more than Medicaid.

In later years, those reimbursement opportunities will extend to specialists, addressing a huge gap in the system by improving doctor participation and preventing children from having to travel long distances to receive treatment.

Florida’s reimbursement rates are among the lowest in the country.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek released a statement in April calling the settlement “a very positive resolution.”

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