TALLAHASSEE, FLA. -- Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration is being hit with a lawsuit.
A group of plaintiffs filed suit Thursday in Tallahassee Circuit Court, accusing the agency of secretly awarding contracts in an illegal attempt to privatize Medicaid.
The group, led by the Florida Pharmacy Association, several independent drug stores and pharmacists, as well as a group of Medicaid patients, say the contracts force Medicaid patients to get their prescription drugs from out-of-state "big box" pharmacies.
The suit alleges that the contracts are being awarded to for-profit HMOs.
Those HMOs, in turn, force their patients to use mail-order or "big box" chain pharmacies.
According to the plaintiffs, the whole package is a violation of freedom of choice guarantees built into Medicaid.
They also say that, since the contracts force patients to deal with out of state businesses, they're costing thousands of jobs in the state.