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Court overturns state Medicaid fraud law

A state Medicaid fraud law banning kickbacks for driving patients to dentists is unconstitutional because Congress protects transportation by medical employees from prosecution, a state appeals court ruled.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal agreed with Miami-Dade Circuit Judge David Miller that charges should be dismissed against 10 people charged with racketeering, fraud and conspiracy for payments of $25 to $30 per child to drivers.

The state argued that the payments were illegal kickbacks for patient referrals. There were no allegations that dental services were not provided.

Judge Mario Goderich wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel that the state law "stands as an obstacle" to congressional objectives in the health care program for the nation's poor.

Attorney Richard Strafer, who appealed for the defendants, said he wasn't surprised by the decision and called it "well-reasoned."

_ Wire reports