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Judge allows state to cut Medicaid fees to pharmacists

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An Indianapolis federal judge has reversed the temporary restraining order she issued two months ago that stopped the state from cutting fees it pays to pharmacists for dispensing Medicaid prescriptions.

The decision Wednesday by U.S. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in the Southern District of Indiana follows more comprehensive briefing and arguments held in August. She overruled the judgment issued a week after the lawsuit was filed July 1.

As plaintiffs, the non-profit Community Pharmacies of Indiana and Williams Brothers Health Care Pharmacy in southern Indiana challenged a new state policy requiring a 38 percent cut in the Medicaid pharmacy-dispensing fee; meaning pharmacies would receive $3 instead of $4.90 for preparing and dispensing any particular drug under the Medicaid program.

Judge Pratt granted a temporary restraining order against the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and its Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning on July 8 until the briefs and court arguments could provide more of the legal theory behind the case.

In her 24-page order Wednesday, Judge Pratt noted that the plaintiffs’ overarching argument has remained the same: that the fee reduction is a violation of state and federal law and would cause irreparable harm, because many pharmacies will have to seriously reevaluate whether they can afford to continue offering Medicaid services as they had and some would be driven out of business.

“The State counters that these apocalyptic scenarios are purely speculative, and, in any event, the Fee Reduction complies with state and federal law,” she wrote. “While the Court certainly sympathizes with Plaintiffs, the State’s position best aligns with the law at this stage of the proceedings.”

Judge Pratt noted that it’s “not to say the Plaintiffs are crying wolf,” and indeed “their dire predictions may, but hopefully will not, morph into reality. Regardless, at this stage, the Court simply has more questions than answers when it comes to the Fee Reduction’s further impact on the availability of Medicaid services.”

Judge Pratt reversed the TRO and denied the request for a preliminary injunction. No further hearings have been scheduled as of the date of the order, according to the federal court’s docket. The case is Community Pharmacies of Indiana, et al v. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, et. al., No. 1:11-cv-00893.

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  1. Such things are no more elections than those in the late, unlamented Soviet Union.

  2. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  3. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  4. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  5. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

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