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.