Florida's children will suffer


Published: Monday, January 8, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 7, 2007 at 11:35 p.m.

Florida policy-makers have provided the children in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island a very happy New Year.

Unfortunately their good fortune is at the expense of Florida's children.

As a result of past actions by the Florida Legislature, Florida has lost $20 million federal dollars earmarked to provide health insurance to children. These federal dollars will now go to other states that are more committed to the Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP).

It is no longer a question, debate or uncertainty. Legislative changes in eligibility, additional bureaucratic hurdles and lack of outreach have caused Florida's KidCare program (as S-CHIP is known in Florida) to decline by more than 150,000 children in a 3 year period, resulting in Florida's loss of the federal funds.

Florida is not spending less on childrens' health insurance because there aren't as many children who need the service. It is estimated that 674,000 children do not have health insurance in our state.

Similar to the failure to fulfill the constitutional mandate for high quality pre-kindergarten, which would prevent a colossal expenditure of future educational funds for remediation, Florida's failure to pay for KidCare has disastrous future costs. Children without health insurance are more likely to be in poor or fair health, more likely to receive expensive emergency room care, less likely to do well in school, and more likely to go with out necessary preventative interventions such as vaccines.

Florida's tax dollars are sparing that fate for the children in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Our children deserve better.

Roy Miller,

president,

Children's Campaign, Inc.,

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