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CFO Sink Works to Streamline Healthy Kids Program without Legislative Action

7/26/2007

CONTACT:  Tara Klimek or Brannon Jordan
(850) 413-2842 

Sink creates Ad Hoc Committee to study ways to simplify the program for families
 
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee for the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation that will examine ways to make it easier for families to enroll in the low-cost health insurance program and increase the number of children the program retains. CFO Sink, who serves as the Chair of the Healthy Kids Board, created the committee in an effort to identify how the Board can streamline the Healthy Kids program without the need for legislative action. 
 
“Right now, families are forced to navigate through a bureaucratic maze—a spaghetti factory, if you will—just to purchase health insurance for their children,” said CFO Sink, who leads the Department of Financial Services.  “This committee is the first step to streamlining the program and helping more families ensure their children have access to affordable, quality health care.”
 
The Florida Healthy Kids program is one of four components of the larger Florida KidCare program, the state’s health insurance program for uninsured children.  Florida Healthy Kids allows working families the opportunity to purchase low-cost health insurance for their children ages 5 through 19 years of age.  To be eligible for discounted premiums, families must earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or $40,000 for a family of four.
 
The federal government provides a two-to-one match for Florida’s Healthy Kids program.  Reduced state funding and low enrollment in the program have resulted in the State of Florida losing $139.7 million in federal funding since 1998.  Florida’s unused federal match is then dispersed to other states that exceed their projected enrollment.  Increasing enrollment and retention in the Healthy Kids program will not only help more children receive preventative health care, but will also reduce the amount of federal funding Florida sends to other states. 
 
During the 2007 Legislative Session, the Legislature was unable to pass legislation to improve the program and make it easier for families to purchase affordable health insurance for their children.  Some of the changes sought included increasing accountability, eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic barriers and simplifying the application process for Florida’s families.
 
With the possibility of statutory change not on the near horizon, CFO Sink has formed this Ad Hoc Committee to research ways to simplify the program and focus it around the needs of families.  The Ad Hoc Committee is scheduled to meet on July 30, 2007, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at The Florida Healthy Kids Corporation office in Tallahassee.  The committee will present a final report and recommended administrative rule changes to CFO Sink at the Healthy Kids Board meeting on August 9, 2007, in Hollywood, Florida. 
 
The following individuals have been appointed to the Ad Hoc Committee:
 
Chris Card, Chairman of Ad Hoc Committee
Lester Abberger, Florida Lobbying Associates
State Representative Loranne Ausley
State Representative Bill Galvano
Sam Bell, Pennington Law Firm
Jay Wolfson, M.D., Director, Florida Health Information Center
Bruce Culpepper, Akerman Senterfitt
Diana Ragbeer, The Children’s Trust
David Marcus, M.D., Pediatric Associates

The Florida Healthy Kids Ad Hoc Committee meeting will be held:
Date:         July 30, 2007
Time:        1:00- 5:00 p.m.
Location:  The Florida Healthy Kids Corporation
                 661 East Jefferson Street, 2nd Floor
                 Tallahassee, Florida
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.