Filling the Coverage Gap for Legal Immigrant Children Remains Appropriate | Print |  E-mail
January 2013

In 2009, Congress gave states the option to allow legal immigrant children to qualify for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) without enduring the five-year waiting period that applies to most public assistance programs for immigrants.

During the 2012 regular session, state legislation (SB 1294) was proposed that would have exercised that option in Florida and allowed such children to qualify for coverage through Florida KidCare (which includes children's Medicaid and CHIP). SB 1294 passed unanimously out of its first committee but did not make it to final passage. This legislation (or a closely related proposal) is expected to be considered again during the 2013 session.

State money is available to fund health coverage for legal immigrant children. Investment in coverage of these otherwise uninsured children will draw down an additional $43.1 million in federal funds.

> Read the report.

Political Rhetoric Drives Up Estimates of Medicaid Expansion Cost | Print |  E-mail
January 2013

The primary claim of those opposed to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act is that the cost to the state would be prohibitive.

One estimate—produced last month by Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration ($2.1 billion per year)—is three times higher than its own estimate from earlier in the year and four times higher than any of the other estimates. For reasons explained in this brief, that estimate must be dismissed outright. Other state-generated estimates ($741 million, $482 million) are less unreasonable, but still deliberately incorporate assumptions that significantly inflate the cost.

In fact, Medicaid expansion would increase the state's share of the total Medicaid budget by only 2 percent over the 10-year period. After factoring in the savings to the state associated with reductions in uncompensated care, the net (true) cost to the state may very well be negative. Thus, despite efforts to make the burden of Medicaid expansion seem onerous and unsustainable, in fact the opposite is true.

> Read the report.

Florida Employers Will Benefit Greatly From Medicaid Expansion | Print |  E-mail
November 2012

Affordable Care Act opponents have expressed a desire to forgo the opportunity to expand Medicaid, ostensibly out of concern for the perceived burden on the state budget and, by extension, on Florida businesses.

In reality, however, Florida's participation in Medicaid expansion would provide a significant and disproportionate benefit to employers in Florida's service industry-dominated economy.

> Read the report.

Amendment 3 Would Cut Funds for Schools, Health Care, Roads and Other Services | Print |  E-mail
October 2012

“Funding for Florida schools, universities, roads and bridges, health programs for children and the elderly, public transit, and a wide range of other public services will fall significantly if voters enact Amendment 3 on Florida's November statewide ballot.

“This constitutional amendment would severely limit the amount of state revenue that the state can spend on services, using a formula that led to drastic cuts in public services in Colorado - the only state to have tried it.”

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzes the effects on Florida and its quality of life if Amendment 3 passes on November 6.

“In short, adoption of this measure would make Florida a much less attractive place to work and live by undermining the state's ability to fulfill its current responsibilities toward its residents and make long-term investments that are fundamental to future prosperity.”

Read the CBPP report.

Amendment 8 Could Drain Billions from Public Schools | Print |  E-mail
September 2012

Amendment 8, the so called "Religious Freedom" constitutional amendment on the November general election ballot, could drain billions of dollars from Florida's public schools. It would rewrite the Constitution in a way that makes it easier to create a voucher program directing the use of state tax dollars to pay tuition to private schools.

Neither the ballot summary that voters will see when they go to the polls, nor the language of the amendment itself, mentions public schools. But if approved by voters, Amendment 8 would have a huge negative impact on public education, reducing funding further after years of previous education budget cuts.

K-12 budget cuts resulting from a universal voucher program pursuant to Amendment 8 could cost between $3.7 billion to $6.5 billion over five years, depending on how the voucher program is designed.

> Read the report.

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