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FL KidCare Funding Extended Two Years

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Thousands of Florida children will retain their health care coverage for at least another two years thanks to the passage of the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act.

A part of federal legislation called the "Doc Fix" - which permanently changes how Medicare pays doctors - will also cover part of the costs of Florida's "KidCare" program for another two years.  

KidCare provides health coverage on a sliding payment scale for about 400,000 children in Florida and most of its funding comes from the federal "Children's Health Insurance Program,” or CHIP.

Jodi Ray, who enrolls children in KidCare at the University of South Florida, said the extension of this funding for another two years will help keep low-income children insured.

"It assures states who are planning their budgets and everything else, and these programs, that the resources will be there to enroll more kids, so we can continue signing more kids up,” Ray said.

“And as we've been doing at USF, we have the Florida Covering Kids and Families program, our job is to do outreach enrollment throughout the state of Florida and we can keep doing that now."

In 2013, $520.7 million was used to support the program. $367.5 million came from the federal government and $153.2 million came from the state.

That money covers the costs of health insurance for low-income children whose families make too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

Without it, said Edward Kucher, chief operating officer at Tampa Family Health Center, a lot more children would be without health insurance.

"Without CHIP, I personally believe, and it's based not on one person's opinion but on experience of an organization, that we'll have a lot of kids that fall through the cracks, even though installation of new Affordable Care Act helps a lot,” Kucher said.

While the health law continues CHIP authorization through 2019, funding for the program had not been extended beyond the end of September, Kaiser Health News reports. 

Daylina Miller is a multimedia reporter for WUSF and Health News Florida, covering health in the Tampa Bay area and across the state.