Press Statement on Florida 12 Month Continuous Coverage for Children Lawsuit

Following is a statement by Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families responding to a Florida lawsuit against a federal law requiring 12 months of continuous coverage for children enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP:

“As a consequence of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, a new federal law went into effect on January 1, 2024, which guarantees 12 months of Medicaid or CHIP coverage for children — no matter where they live — to ensure continuity of health coverage and access to care. Governor DeSantis has sued the Biden Administration to take that protection away from children in Florida and across the country.

“The Governor of Florida has filed suit asking a judge to end this protection for children enrolled in separate CHIP programs across the country. If granted, this will allow Governors who choose to terminate coverage for children in separate CHIP programs for nonpayment of certain premiums. This new federal law was designed to protect families from medical debt and ensure children have access to the health care they need.

“If he is successful, the Governor will ensure that more children in Florida will spend more time being uninsured. He’s not stopping there – he’s seeking to remove the protection for all children in separate CHIP programs that charge premiums. This is harmful and puts children’s health and educational outcomes at risk in both the short and the long term.

“This comes on top of Medicaid unwinding where Florida has the second worst performance in the country having terminated Medicaid coverage for over 400,000 children. (Only Texas has a worse record.)  The new federal protection for children was designed in part to mitigate against inappropriate losses of Medicaid and CHIP for eligible children resulting from red tape and shoddy customer support for families renewing coverage – problems which have been on stark display recently in Florida.”

[Editor’s Note: This statement was updated at 10 a.m. on February 5, 2023.]

Download the Full Complaint Here

Download the Motion for Preliminary Injunction Here


Joan Alker is the Executive Director of the Center for Children and Families and a Research Professor at the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy.