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Gov. Scott ‘Hopes’ Congress Finds Permanent Solution To Kids Health Program Funding

Ryan Benk
Gov. Rick Scott in Jacksonville Tuesday

Congress has passed a funding measure that keeps the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) going through March — the program insures hundreds of thousands of kids in Florida.

But without a permanent solution in place by the end of January, many families could see their coverage lapse and Governor Rick Scott won’t say whether they should be worried.

The temporary funding bill partially funds a continuation of CHIP through March. The program helps cover around 200,000 Florida kids from low-income families who don’t qualify for Medicaid but still can’t afford private insurance.

Congressional leaders promise a more permanent compromise by the end of this month, but if an agreement isn’t reached, some states — including Florida — will run out of money.

In Jacksonville Tuesday, Scott wouldn’t say whether the state would warn parents of possible disenrollment.

“The goal is that the federal government continues the program. Our Agency for Health Care Administration has been working with the federal government,” he said. “We’ve been talking about extending it and I hope that’s what they do.”

Scott has included federal CHIP funding in his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts in July.

According to the News Service of Florida, state officials say they’ll give parents at least a month’s notice before dropping kids from coverage.

Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.