November 2, 2017

Florida agency oversells Gov. Rick Scott's role in reducing number of uninsured children [PolitiFact]

Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida writes:

“The vast disruption of Hurricane Irma meant many families risked losing their children’s health insurance coverage due to missed payments.

As the board for the state’s children’s health insurance program prepared to meet about this issue, the Agency for Health Care Administration defended Gov. Rick Scott’s record on insuring children.

The agency sent out a news release with comment from Secretary Justin Senior before the meeting of Florida Healthy Kids, which operates the KidCare insurance program that provides coverage for children ages 5 through 18. Members discussed the possibility of asking the federal government for a waiver to assist families financially burdened by Hurricane Irma but ended up postponing a decision.

Through the agency, the Scott administration said it would work to ensure no children lose their insurance coverage as a result of the hurricane, touting its history of getting kids insured.

‘Under Gov. Scott’s leadership, Florida has had much success in lowering the rate of uninsured children,’ the Oct. 25 news release said.

We wondered if it was fair for the administration to give Scott credit for decreases in the rate of uninsured children, given his general record against public health care expansion.

‘I think the Affordable Care Act has much more to do with decreasing Florida’s uninsured rate than any actions that have come out of the Legislature and governor’s office,’ said Anne Swerlick, a health policy expert at the Florida Policy Institute, a nonprofit that examines how policy affects the economy [emphasis added].

(Swerlick said the the Florida Legislature did implement a provision allowing lawfully residing immigrant children to enroll in Medicaid and CHIP without waiting five years, which the Georgetown study includes.)

Joan Alker, who co-authored the Georgetown study, said the ACA has clearly contributed to a sharp decline in the percent of uninsured children in Florida and nationwide.”

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