A battle is not just brewing in the Arizona legislature…..it’s bubbling over! The fight focuses on whether to restore KidsCare – a program that would provide health insurance to low income children.
As we stated in a blog we posted back in February, advocates say it’s needed but opponents fear that if we take federal dollars to unfreeze the program now – the feds could pull their support down the road and leave our state holding the bill. An ABC News story claims Arizona is the only state without an active Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Arizona is now the only state that does not have the program, according to the Advocates of Cover Kids Coalition, a collection of health and advocacy groups. The program could extend health-care coverage to more than 30,000 kids who are ineligible now.
State Rep. Regina Cobb, R-Kingman, spoke at a rally (at the state capitol), along with other leaders and advocates in support of the program.
“These are families of a mom and dad where the dad is the only worker and doesn’t make more than 9 or 10 dollars an hour and can’t afford health insurance. Or a single mom with a child or two and is making the decision of whether or not to have heat, pay rent or have health insurance,” Cobb said. “We are giving them a leg up.”
According to KTAR News, “Senate President Andy Biggs has blocked consideration of the measure, saying some of the children could qualify for Medicaid or their parents could buy subsidized insurance.” Biggs said in interviews with The Associated Press and on Arizona PBS’ “Horizon” public affairs show last week that he had no intention of allowing House Bill 2309 to move forward.
The bill passed 47-12 in the House, but the sledding has been much tougher in the Senate. Some hope the measure can be included in the budget process as a budget-related bill. The Arizona Hospital & Healthcare Association joins many Arizona businesses, organizations, and political and community leaders in supporting the reinstatement of the KidsCare program.
Now it’s your turn. Whether you agree or not – we want to hear what you think and why. Drilling down into these types of issues and looking for common ground is critical if we hope to one day each our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!