Thursday, January 30, 2014

KidCare Needs to Be Expanded

Florida House Rep. Amanda Murphy sent out this press release on her support of Medicaid expansion in Florida.

“There are many points with the plan that I agree with and plan on supporting, but it is missing one crucial aspect in protecting vulnerable Floridians and that is Medicaid Expansion,” said Representative Amanda Murphy. “As we learned last week, the decision to not take the Medicaid Expansion dollars last year could cost Florida businesses hundreds of millions of dollars. The Florida Legislature needs to have conversations about protecting the vulnerable by assuring access to affordable and quality healthcare and eliminating the possibility of millions in fines to our small businesses.”

Representative Murphy announced earlier this week her intentions to file a companion bill to SB 710 filled by Senator Garcia, Senate District 38, last week. The bill would provide increased benefits through the Healthy Kids and Healthy Florida programs. Healthy Florida uses available federal funding to assist individuals and families with purchasing private insurance coverage.

The Purpose of Sen. Rene Garcia's bill is to expand Kidcare coverage
Revising the components of Florida Kidcare; prohibiting a cause of action from arising against the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation for failure to make health services available; amending s. 409.8132, F.S.; revising the eligibility of the Medikids program component; revising the enrollment requirements for Medikids; amending s. 409.8134, F.S., relating to Florida Kidcare; conforming provisions to changes made by the act; amending s. 409.814, F.S.; revising eligibility requirements for Florida Kidcare

A reason why this bill might be dead on arrival is that coverage for the children of legal immigrants. There is some conflicting interest involved. Garcia is a KidCare activist.

Garcia present a previous version of this bill. These are the numbers Garcia said Kidcare expansion for children of legal immigrants would cost.

The maximum cost to the state of extending coverage to legal immigrant children would be $17.6 million.

To pay for it there is unspent state funds already earmarked for children’s health coverage as well as money freed up as a result of increased federal match rates. This means there is a bare minimum of $39.1 million in state funding available to fund this important coverage.

Investment in coverage of these otherwise uninsured children will draw down an additional $43.1 million in federal funds.

I’d be happy to provide to you and your staff with a cost brief detailing all of this information.

According to a Miami Herald article, Florida has the second highest rate of uninsured people under the age of 65 in America. The problem is Florida has a McJob economy.

Steven Marcus, chief executive of the Health Foundation of South Florida, a public charity that funds healthcare initiatives in the region, attributed Miami-Dade’s high rate of uninsured residents to the county’s large number of small businesses, many of which do not offer health insurance to their employees — the most common method for Americans to receive coverage.

“We’re a very small-business, service economy,’’ Marcus said. “Our small businesses have never supported healthcare.’’

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford made a political decision to deny Medicaid expansion. This has an effect on the many children in Florida that is denied health coverage. There is no rationale moral reason to deny children health care.

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