October 30, 2019

Are Trump’s policies causing kids in Miami to lose their health insurance? [Miami Herald]

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Ben Conarck of the Miami Herald writes:

"A national spike in children going without health insurance is especially bad in Florida and Miami-Dade County, partly because of a 'chilling effect' for immigrant families who hesitate to enroll their children in public assistance programs because they worry about deportation, a new report found.

That’s one of three factors likely driving the rise in children without insurance in Miami-Dade, where 7% of children were uninsured in 2018, according to the report by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families released Wednesday.


Anne Swerlick, a senior policy analyst with the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], a nonprofit that advocates for expanding health insurance coverage, said it took a lot of hard work to get the rate of uninsured children in Florida down to about 6.6% in 2016, which was still above the national average of 4.7% at the time.

The rate has risen each of the two years since: 7.3% in 2017 and 7.6% in 2018, according to the Georgetown report. The rate was as high as 17% in 2008.

'What’s striking to me is how quickly we are backsliding,' Swerlick said [emphasis added]. 'Up until 2016, we were on track to really make a dent in the rate of uninsured kids in the state. ... It’s scary how quickly it seems to be happening.'"


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