Healthcare Access: Children Who Are Sick Can’t Succeed

Good health is the foundation for children to grow and learn. Proper nutrition, preventative medicine and the access to medical professionals when sick are critical to helping children develop and thrive.

Programs are available to provide free and low-cost health services for children and families in need. More than 2.4 million children are covered by Florida KidCare, the state’s version of the national Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Services including maternal and infant programs, KidCare, dental care and Medicaid keep low-income children and families out of expensive emergency rooms for issues preventable with regular medical care. These programs also help keep the family well, while identifying medical issues early on- leading to quicker resolutions and better outcomes.

Unfortunately, Florida does not take full advantage of the available programs. The state ranks 36th in children who are uninsured, with 274,300 uninsured children in 2016. It is estimated that the state will lose $66.1 billion in federal funding over the course of ten years (2013-2022) by not taking advantage of Medicaid expansion. Failure to expand Medicaid does not mean Florida taxpayers won’t have to help pay for the program, just that the state will not receive any of the benefits.

Florida ranks 45th out of 51 states (including Puerto Rico) in the number of children receiving a preventative medical and dental visit in the past year. 30% of children with Medicaid visited a dentist in the past year, compared to 61% with private dental insurance. Additionally, Florida ranks 35th in low birth weight babies and 24th in number of infant deaths.

Failure to keep kids healthy impacts the quality of life of a child and their family. Education, family stress, mental illness and long-term outcomes are all touched by the health of the child.


  • Invest in programs proven to provide good health outcomes: Healthy Start provides services to expectant and new mothers, increasing the likelihood of good birth outcomes. Kidcare provides health insurance for children 18 and under.
  • Expand the pool of eligible children: Investing in services to provide preventive care reduces the cost passed on to consumers for expensive emergency room visits.
  • Reauthorize CHIP: Without access to the federal dollars from CHIP, 2.4 million Florida children could enter the ranks of the uninsured.
  • Encourage dentists to participate in Medicaid using incentives: Low-income children currently cannot access dental care even when they qualify for Medicaid in areas with medically underserved populations.


The Children’s Campaign Priority Bill Highlights

What the Children’s Campaign is Saying…

Additional Resources

  • Kids Count Data Center Florida Health Indicators—Annie E. Casey Foundation. Reports Florida specific statistics on all issues facing health care for children.
  • Snapshot of Children’s Coverage: Florida—Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. Illustrates how children in Florida are covered by Medicaid, CHIP and the ACA.
  • Oral Health Care System: Florida—American Dental Association. Provides an overview of Florida’s oral health care system. As of 2014, Florida ranks below the national average in the percentage of dentists participating in Medicaid for child dental services.
  • Shattered smiles: Florida kids face dental crisis—Panama City News Herald. Though adequate dental care has been guaranteed by the Medicaid program in federal law since 1972, the reality of accessing dental care in Florida is much less secure, especially in rural or urban poor communities.

Disclaimer: These links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or approval by The Children’s Campaign or its affiliate organizations and partners.

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