Judge Orders Thousands Back on Medicaid

By  | 

U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate issued an order Friday to give Medicaid benefits back to thousands of people who'd been cut off the program only hours earlier.

Medicaid officials warned during the hearing in federal court that restoring coverage to the 50,808 people can't be done simply by pushing a couple of buttons on a computer.

Medicaid executive director, Dr. Warren Jones, said information about patients will have to be re-entered into computer programs, and restoring benefits could take up to 11 days.

Attorney General Jim Hood said the temporary restraining order granted by Wingate would be in effect at least 10 days.

Dr. Jones told lawmakers in August that the federal government won't let Medicaid take away benefits in the middle of a month.

Health advocates said Wingate's order restores coverage through Oct. 31 for those who had been cut off.

Wingate will continue a hearing Monday to decide whether the order will be in effect longer than 10 days.

The order to reinstate people to Medicaid came at the request of health advocates who sued earlier this week to block the cuts.