Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Florida Democrats Slam DeSantis for ‘Attacks on Children’s Health Care,’ KidCare

Following a recent hearing on the lawsuit filed by Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration to block a new federal provision that preserves health insurance coverage for children eligible for Florida KidCare, the Florida Democrats slammed “attacks on children’s health care” and the Republican Governor.

“It’s clear, Ron DeSantis does not care about Florida’s kids,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried. “In addition to nearly 500,000 children who have lost Medicaid coverage since the unwinding started, the DeSantis administration is now breaching federal rules by kicking off over 22,000 children from Florida KidCare, according to the latest data.”

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat, led the entire Florida Democratic congressional delegation in urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to step in to stop Governor DeSantis and the state of Florida from ripping health coverage away from tens of thousands of children who currently rely on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known as Florida KidCare.

“Let’s remember who this impacts — kids who have cancer, kids with cerebral palsy, kids with chronic medical conditions that require expensive medications,” FDP Chair Nikki Fried said. “Instead of pulling out all the stops to make sure children are covered, the DeSantis administration is paying lawyers to sue the federal government so they can make it easier to kick kids off health care. If successful, this lawsuit would have devastating impacts for millions of children across America and create a child health care crisis nationwide.”

A newly-enacted federal reform requires all state’s to maintain continuous coverage for children under age 19 for one year after they have qualified for Medicaid and CHIP. Since the new law went into effect on January 1, 2024, Democrats say that Governor DeSantis and the state of Florida have wrongfully cut off 22,500 children from the care they need, the only state in the country to do so. Florida also is suing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to upend the new coverage law for the right to continue to disenroll children from Florida KidCare.

“While the Florida Legislature voted to expand Florida KidCare eligibility to children with family incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), we urge you not to approve the State’s requested punitive premium structure,” the Democratic lawmakers write. “Florida’s costly barrier to coverage runs counter to Congressional intent. Congress clearly intended that 12-month continuous eligibility be effectuated without any barriers or roadblocks so that children would receive care and coverage under CHIP.”

Democrats say there is a need to protect Florida kids from wrongful and cruel health coverage disenrollment by Republicans.

“Florida is one of only nine states that charges families making less than 150% of the federal poverty level premiums to be eligible for Florida KidCare coverage, and the only state involved in the lawsuit, no other state has joined,” FDP Chair Fried added.

“While the Biden-Harris administration is fighting to ensure health care coverage is affordable and accessible to every child and lowering health care costs for all Americans, Florida Republicans are working around the clock to rip away coverage from Florida’s sickest kids. Once again, Florida voters are the last line of defense. We must re-elect President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris this November to guarantee federal protections to health care for all.”

The full letter from congressional Democrats is below:


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