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Mo. Medicaid chief warns against halting contract

(via Flickr/Jennifer_Boriss)

Hundreds of thousands of low-income Missourians can begin enrolling in new Medicaid insurance plans Thursday, despite a lingering lawsuit seeking to halt the process.

In a deposition obtained by The Associated Press, state Medicaid director Ian McCaslin said it would create a "nuclear scenario" for the program if a judge grants an injunction blocking the state from implementing its new Medicaid managed care contracts.

The injunction is sought by Molina Healthcare Inc. The company covers about 80,000 Medicaid recipients under Missouri's current contract but lost out when the new contacts were awarded in February.

Molina contends the bidding process was wrongly changed in midstream and that Missouri officials should not have limited the program to three insurers.

A court hearing is scheduled for April 27.