Charles Elmore of the Palm Beach Post writes:
“As Florida legislators voted to reduce Medicaid spending by $521 million Friday, a new report shed light on who is affected by budget battles in Tallahassee and Washington: Medicaid covers 41 percent of Palm Beach County children, or more than 116,000.
That’s up from about 76,000, or 27 percent of the county’s children, six years earlier, according to researchpresented by Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina and the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added].
Since 2008-09, the number of children lacking insurance in Palm Beach County was cut almost in half to 24,480 by 2014-15, researchers said.
Medicaid covers an even bigger share of children in rural counties, including 64 percent in Okeechobee County.
‘Cutting funding to Medicaid and changing its financing structure into a per capita cap or block grant would hit children the hardest, damaging their overall well-being and future quality of life as adults,’ said Joseph F. Pennisi, executive director of the Lake Mary-based Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added]. It calls itself a ‘common sense’ think tank promoting general prosperity.
Overall, 57 percent of children in Florida’s small towns and rural areas receive Medicaid coverage and 44 percent do so in urban areas, researchers estimated.
‘When Florida children and families have health insurance coverage, the whole state benefits,’ Pennisi said. ‘Providing greater access to care can equate to fewer visits to emergency rooms, less uncompensated care and more people getting—and staying—healthy.'”