Media Matters Action Network

Gov. Scott Misses Out On $200 Million For Children's Health Care Funding

May 04, 2012 1:07 pm ET by Salvatore Colleluori

Gov. Rick Scott

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) likes to reject most things that come from the federal government. In the latest rejection of federal funds, his administration has rejected almost $200 million in bonuses that would have gone to health care for children. As Health News Florida points out:

Over the past two years, Florida did such a good job of enrolling uninsured children in KidCare that the state could have qualified for as much as $200 million in federal bonuses - money that could have helped get more children into care.

But the state did not take the steps required to get the money. A spokesman for the Florida House said it appears the reason was the cost involved in making changes to certain agency rules, but was unable to offer specifics Friday morning.

While Scott has made it clear that he won't accept the millions of dollars in funding under the Affordable Care Act legislation, this money does not come from ACA but rather from the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). CHIPRA has already benefited 1.1 million children above expected levels. As the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families explains:

Data on the bonuses show that in the 23 states that received bonuses in FY 2011, an additional 1.1 million kids were enrolled above expected levels. The most (123,000) can be found in the state of Ohio. While we can't say that the bonuses fully explain this jump in enrollment, it would certainly be fair to say that they get some of the credit for supporting states in reaching these kids.

One could only imagine the impact it would have on Florida because as Think Progress notes, "Currently, 687,300 or 16 percent of children are uninsured in Florida — six percentage points higher than the national average."

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