The Tampa Bay TimesĀ reported Monday that Florida has lost out on millions of federal dollars intended to help states increase access to childrenā€™s health care for low-income families.

According to theĀ Times:

The federal government recently awarded nearly $300Ā million in bonuses to 23 states that have increased enrollment and improved access to childrenā€™s health programs. Among Floridaā€™s neighbors, Alabama received $19Ā million, Georgia nearly $5Ā million and Louisiana almost $2Ā million.

But Florida, which has more than 380,000 children whose familiesā€™ incomes should make them eligible for coverage, didnā€™t get aĀ dime of the bonus dollars.

The Times reports the state did not meet specific guidelines needed to receive the funding, failing to pass legislation that would have set up programs to meet the requirements.

ā€œAnd thatā€™s not the only health care money Florida is forgoing,ā€ the Times reports. ā€œThe state also stands to lose a further $22Ā million in federal funds because the KidCare program enrolls fewer children than it is budgeted for. That fact alone, advocates say, shows that Florida isnā€™t working hard enough to let families know that help may be available.ā€

In Florida, tackling the stateā€™s problem uninsured rate for children has had its ups and down. A report released about two months ago showed thatĀ Florida led the nation in reducing the number of uninsured childrenĀ during a three-year period. The state dropped its rate of uninsured children by 4 percentage points from 2008 to 2010.

But a secondĀ report from last month showed that the progress made in the last few years could be blunted as a result of the state requiring a $10 premium from Medicaid recipients. According to the report, the measureĀ could force out about 800,000 people from the program ā€” 660,000 of which will likely be children.

Despite the improvements, Florida still has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the nation.Ā Florida is among 15 other states with rates higher than the national average.Ā According to the study, ā€œjust six states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New York and Texas) account for more than half of the uninsured children nationally.ā€

In February 2011, the Commonwealth FoundationĀ ranked Florida 47thĀ in the foundationā€™s Child Health Care Scorecard. The score was largely linked to the stateā€™s high uninsured rate among children.

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