WUFT News

Advocates question Florida Legislature’s decision to decline health care funding

By on October 15th, 2012

Child health advocates are questioning the Florida Legislature’s decision earlier this year to get rid of funding that could potentially reduce the number of children being abused.

Gov. Rick Scott and the state Joint Legislative Budget Committee refused about $30 million in federal funding from the Affordable Care Act Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The funding would have gone toward preventative child care programs.

“There’s been a whole set of programs here that could’ve been helped by federal funds and/or planning money for going forward with health care reform that’s been refused,” said Dr. Richard Bucciarelli, child health care advocate and pediatrician. “I say you can’t afford not to do prevention because 10 years from now we a going to have issues  — either psychological issues, social issues with the families or medical issues — that could have been prevented or lessened if we took the step to utilize the money and enhance the programs.”

The Florida Legislature initially refused and subsequently accepted about $4 million in federal funding linked to the Affordable Care Act in order to apply for the competitive Race to the Top grant funding. The grant funding is designed for a five-year home visitation plan and was offered to Florida with no match needed. Florida accepted funding for the first year, but refused funding for the other four years.

Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement on his website that none of the major provisions in the President’s health care plan caters to economic growth, quality education or a low cost of living. He said health care needs more patient choice, increased accountability for providers and incentives for personal responsibility, and he added that the President’s plan doesn’t offer any of these things.

Healthy Start of North Central Florida Coalition CEO Jeff Feller said legislators are flip-flopping on the bigger issue of the President’s health care plan.

“The problem is they did take (the funding) even though it was apart of the Affordable Health Care Act when they felt they could leverage other dollars that were not part of the Affordable Health Care Act,” he said. “It’s very hard to justify how you can take (funding) for some period of time to meet your needs.”

The coalition’s Program Director Julie Moderie said programs like Healthy Start provide a vital service to about 100 Alachua County families.

“The home visiting funds allowed us to provide more intensive parenting services to these families,” she said. “So overall, it had a big impact on the families we serve down the road and by being able to provide an evidence-based parenting program that’s  been obviously proven to work, we were going to be able to measure the impacts of that, but now it’s been cut short, so we don’t have as much data to really see if it was effective.”

Children’s Home Society of Florida Executive Director Jennifer Anchors said there were more than 49,000 verified reports of child abuse or neglect in Florida last year even though the number of calls was twice that. Anchors added that for every 1,000 children living in the 18 counties that the society’s mid-Florida division serves, around 15 are the victims of child abuse or neglect.

Child Abuse Prevention Project Program Director Annie McPherson said current policies are not acknowledging that a diversity of approaches are needed to help families.

“A lot of the social services have been cut … and when that happens I think you’re putting our community at a greater risk of having child abuse go up,” she said.

Emily Miller edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Health and Science, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Health and Science

Selena Sattler searches for the grade of her favorite fast food location on What the Health. The app was recently released in Florida, allowing users quick access to local restaurant grades based on health inspections.

Mobile App Offers Restaurant Health Inspection Grades

An app called What the Health offers users instant access to health inspection data for restaurants in the area. Launched in Florida on Jan. 26, the app assigns letter grades for restaurants based on county health inspection findings.


Chris “Boris” Marhefka and Carlee Daylor prepare meals to be delivered to members for the week.
Eat The 80 recently launched a Facebook campaign that helped raise $3,000 worth of meals to help families undergoing cancer treatment.

Meal Delivery Program To Help Families In Need

At the end of its one-week campaign, Eat The 80 raised $3,000 for meals to give away to families. The money will provide meals for four or five families over the next month.


Daria Rebbecchi texts in her apartment and sleep is not a priority.

Sleep Not A Priority For Students, Study Finds

Students struggle to get the required amount of sleep while dealing with the demands of college. A study by the National Sleep Foundation finds that most students fail to make sleep a priority in their busy lives.


Healthcare navigator Ronnie Lovler (left) helps a consumer sign up for health care as the Feb. 15 deadline approaches.

Health Care 2015: How To Solve Enrollment Issues

The Feb. 15 deadline for the current health care enrollment period is less than one week away. Until that time, organizations such as the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, WellFlorida Council and Enroll America will host sign-up events and offer services to assist with enrollment, but some consumers will continue to experience unsolvable issues with the process.


SpaceX Headquarters, a 550,000 square foot facility in Hawthorne, California.

UF Successfully Sends Plants To The International Space Station

The UF Space Plants team successfully launched the SpaceX5 capsule to the International Space Station Jan. 10. The capsule contained plants that will help the team study the effects that different environments have on plant life.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments