About UsKnow Your EnemyNews/EventsAmmunition for the MissionMembers OnlyLinksJoin the Fight!Contact Us

SWAT > News and Events > Two programs equal $46 million of plan

Tallahassee Democrat, January 21, 2004

The governor's budget proposes a $30 million increase in the Florida KidCare program to take 10,500 children off the 100,000-and-growing waiting list for subsidized health insurance.

"That's tragic," said social services advocate Karen Woodall, who along with Senate Democrats is asking for funding to eliminate the entire waiting list. Three-fourths of KidCare costs are borne by the federal government, but Bush said he is worried about whether Washington will continue the program.

Stopping kids from smoking drew a $16 million plan from the governor, who wants to reactivate a tobacco-prevention program cut this year to just $1 million.

Anti-smoking advocates were unmoved. "Clearly the state needs more than $16 million to combat the $500 million the tobacco industry is spending on advertising in Florida," said Brenda Olsen of the American Lung Association.

Bush also called upon the Legislature to help him engineer a federal waiver to redo Medicaid, which next year will eat up an additional $1.1 billion, of which $526 million is state funds and the rest federal. The governor projected this health-care program for the poor growing to $46.6 billion in 2015 from $13.8 billion next year. "The growth in costs is not sustainable," he said. "We must modernize the system."

The governor dangled hope of doing more this year to help Florida's 2.8 million citizens without health insurance. He's put aside $32 million to fund initiatives out of his health insurance task force but was not ready to reveal what he will recommend.

-Diane Hirth