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Iowa judge declines hospitals request to stop Medicaid changes

A Polk County judge has declined to stop Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's plan to privatize Medicaid indicating the federal government has already delayed implementation until March and hospitals that sued to stop it haven't proven they'd be irreparably damaged.

The Iowa Hospital Association claims Branstad's plan to turn over the state's $4 billion Medicaid program to private for-profit companies is illegal because it takes millions of dollars from a hospital trust fund and gives it to the managed care companies the state hired.

Judge Robert Hanson's ruling Friday says it's too early for the court to stop Medicaid privatization because the federal delay allows time for the legislature or the administration to fix problems.

Branstad's spokesman says the decision allows the state to move toward a March 1 implementation.


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