September 6, 2017

Children's Health Insurance Program on the Brink

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.

It’s time to sound the alarm for the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP), according to a new blog by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Congress must act by the end of this month to renew federal funding and keep the program alive. Otherwise, projections are that Florida will run out of CHIP funds by January 2018. This would likely trigger the loss of coverage for 300,000 children currently enrolled in the Florida Healthy Kids and MediKids programs.

For another 134,000 Florida children covered by Medicaid, the state risks losing millions of federal dollars to maintain their enrollment. Notably, additional state dollars for this purpose have not been appropriated in Florida’s 2017-18 budget.

Since enactment of CHIP in 1997, the uninsured rate for Florida’s children has dramatically decreased;  284,000 children, however, remain uninsured.  De-funding the CHIP program would be an inexcusable step backward.

Congress must promptly renew federal funding to keep the CHIP program alive.

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