Skip to Content

Press Release

U.S. Rep. Castor: Gov. DeSantis is Breaking the Law in Stripping Health Care Coverage from FL Kids

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14) released the below statement on Governor Ron DeSantis violating the law and disenrolling 22,576 Florida children from KidCare:

“Governor DeSantis is throwing Florida kids off of the children’s health care program (“CHIP” or “Kidcare” in Florida) and erecting barriers that keep kids from the doctor’s office in violation of federal law. On January 1, 2024, a new federal protection for children went into effect nationwide: continuous eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP coverage for children for 12 months. This means that once children are determined eligible for Medicaid or CHIP anywhere across the nation, they keep their health coverage for an entire year. It is a vital reform that is being celebrated across America – except by Florida’s governor.

“Congress enacted the 12-month continuous eligibility reform to help families cut costs, ensure that children do not experience a harmful gap in health coverage, and to cut time-consuming bureaucratic red tape. As we have seen during the Medicaid “unwinding” in Florida, children often lose their health coverage for procedural reasons, not because they are no longer eligible. Through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, Congress acted to protect children’s access to care, which has long-term health and financial benefits for families and for states.

“Yet, Governor DeSantis does not seem to care about violating the law or taking care of Florida’s kids. His Administration has disenrolled 22,576 children from KidCare since January 1, 2024, for failing to pay premiums despite explicit instructions to the contrary. Florida is the only state in the country that is brazenly disregarding the new federal protection for children. I have been contacted by parents whose sick children have been dropped from KidCare and can’t receive the timely health services they need. This should not be happening.

“At the same time, the State of Florida is suing the Biden administration to overturn this 12-month protection for children nationwide, simply because they don’t want to follow the law. This has led to a delay in the expansion of KidCare to children up to 300% of the federal poverty threshold, which is estimated to provide coverage to an additional 165,000 Florida children in five years.

“The Governor and his administration are trying to twist the narrative but don’t believe them: they are violating the law and harming children and families.”