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Nearly 340,000 Florida Kids Could Lose Health Insurance Unless Congress Acts

Federal funding that provides insurance for nearly 340,000 Florida kids will expire in September unless Congress acts. It’s called the  Children’s Health Insurance Program and it supports kids who don’t qualify for Medicaid. The state gets nearly $600 million in federal dollars for CHIP. The program is administered by the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation. Joan Alker,Executive Director of the Center for Children and Families  and a Research Professor at Georgetown University, says CHIP is getting caught up in the wider conversation over federal health policy.

“Instead of taking what may be an easy win for them and trying to move CHIP and some other healthcare extenders on a bipartisan basis we haven’t seen Congress do that yet. I think it’s something they could get we’ll just have to wait and see," she said.

Alker says both the president’s budget proposals as well as one put forward by the U.S. House of Representatives propose to cut CHIP funding. Some states may be able to hold on to their programs longer if they’ve managed to save some money. If the program expires as scheduled on September 30, the dollars would stop in October.

*Correction: 340,000 Florida Children are covered by CHIP. There are nearly 4 million people covered by Medicaid.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.