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Lawmakers push Kidcare amendment

A bipartisan group of lawmakers Thursday proposed a constitutional amendment that would require the state to provide access to healthcare for all children by July 2010. Calling it a "moral imperative,'' House members said that Florida should do everything it can to fix Florida's Kidcare programs and make sure that the state is offering services to every child that needs it.

"This initiative has but one simple goal: to guarantee that every child in Florida has access to quality health insurance," said Rep. Dan Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat. "This is not just a piece of legislation, it is a moral imperative. There is nothing more important to Florida’s families than the health of their children."

Also backing the effort along with the House Democrats are Reps. Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican, and Rep. Rene Garcia, a Hialeah Republican.

Lawmakers maintain they can meet the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment if Florida takes steps to streamline eligibility standards, expand the number of those eligible, and open up enrollment to families able to pay their full share.