The governor says an additional 37,000 will be served by the health insurance program.
TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Jeb Bush announced changes Tuesday in the state's KidCare program that he said will provide health insurance to an additional 37,000 Florida children.
Bush said extending the benefits will remove a burden from some families already dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes that have damaged many parts of the state.
"They are dealing with monumental losses and stress," Bush said in a statement released by his office. "The state will, and must continue to, provide any support we can."
Bush's action drew support from Democrats who had criticized changes to the program during the 2004 legislative session.
"We welcome the governor's belated decision to embrace the long-overdue modifications to the Florida KidCare program so that more parents will now have the option to participate," Senate Minority Leader Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, said. "We hope the changes the governor is now proposing are permanent and long-lasting."
Among the changes, Bush reduced the penalty for not paying premiums from a six-month waiting period to 60 days and he simplified continuation of coverage for children no longer eligible for Medicaid due to age or family income change.