KidsCare Update

Here is an update to a controversial story that we have written several blogs about in recent months – KidsCare, a program that would provide health insurance to low income children.

A new study claims Arizona would actually make money if the state revived its KidsCare program. The Grand Canyon Institute policy paper released last week asserts that the short and long term benefits of restoring KidsCare outweigh any potential drawbacks.

According to the study, the short and long term benefits include:

  • $40 million dollars in direct economic benefits in 2017
  • Total economic benefits of approximately $75 million
  • 30,000 children would be covered
  • Program could modestly reduce the high school dropout rate, and
  • Increase the number of students graduating from college.

AzCentral.com says the deadline to hear the KidsCare bill has passed, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over.

Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday acknowledged that some legislators may push for KidsCare during budget talks. The governor has not advocated for KidsCare and has said his priority is to deliver a structurally balanced budget, but he added that he would remain open-minded if lawmakers proposed lifting the freeze during budget talks.

A story in the Arizona Daily Star echoed that sentiment saying, “a resolution to the conflict seems to be in sight. As Sen. Steve Farley, a Tucson Democrat, and others explained to me (Reporter Tim Stellar), it would go like this: When the state budget is being debated on the Senate floor, an amendment will be proposed that would reopen KidsCare enrollment. That way, (Senate President Andy) Biggs and other opponents can vote against it while still allowing others to push it through.”

Opponents fear that if the 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. We believe the time has come to reinstate the program, but we want to know what you think. Should Arizona revive the KidsCare program? According to the Children’s Action Alliance, Arizona is the only state without a Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Do you think that matters to the long term health future of our state? No matter where you stand on this issue – these types of discussions are critical to our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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