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Progress in counties' dispute with state over Medicaid, but lawsuit still looming

County officials across Florida say they appreciate a new level of openness with the state regarding a long-running dispute about unpaid Medicaid bills.

But for most it's too little, too late.

Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler said she spent two years meeting with Agency for Health Care Administration officials about the error-prone billing system that caused the county to question a chunk of the bills it received. But nothing ever got done, and Broward's backlog grew by tens of millions.

When Gov. Rick Scott signed into law new rules that require counties to pay up — to the tune of $325.5 million — he also directed AHCA to meet with counties to determine what they truly owed. Only what is agreed upon will have to be paid, the governor said.

Even with those assurances, 53 counties and the Florida Association of Counties sued the state and asked that the law be declared unconstitutional. Wexler said she isn't convinced that more conversations with AHCA will be enough to solve the problem.

"I did this," she said. "I went down this road before. We've had these conversations. We brought the documentation. We brought the data."

Read more here.

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