We wrote a blog late last week explaining that the state budget did not include KidsCare, a program designed to provide health insurance to low income children. After months of heated debates, it appeared the program would have to wait at least another year. The New York Times ran a headline on May 4th that read, “Arizona Doesn’t Restore Federal Child Health Care Program.” 48 hours later – everything changed.
More than 30,000 Arizona children from low-income families will be eligible for health insurance after a lightning-quick revival of KidsCare, which appeared all but dead earlier this week.
Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill reinstating the program Friday, hours after Senate President Andy Biggs dropped his resistance to bringing the bill up for a vote.
The Senate’s 16-12 vote came after the House on Thursday successfully amended the KidsCare reinstatement onto a bill in a contentious debate that revolved around whether it was prudent to tap into a federal program at no cost to the state.
So, what happened? How did the program go from dead in the water to sitting on the Governor’s desk? According to KJZZ, “The House had approved restoration of KidsCare earlier this year, only to have Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, refuse to give the bill a hearing. And GOP leaders would not make it part of the just-enacted budget. So Rep. Regina Cobb, R-Kingman, attached the issue to a bill Republicans want, one dealing with vouchers to send children to private and parochial schools.” TechTimes.com referred to it as a “procedural maneuver.”
And while Tucson.com pointed out that the”maneuver” might lead to a lawsuit, for now – supporters are celebrating the restoration of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) otherwise known as KidsCare in Arizona.
This was one of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association’s (AzHHA) top priorities this year and we want to thank the KidsCare coalition of more than 100 supporting organizations, which was led by the Children’s Action Alliance, who fought for this program and for its passage. We also want to recognize the hard work of many of our member hospitals as well as our own AzHHA advocacy team.
We believe this is another step in our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation! Now let us know what you think. KidsCare is back – what a long strange trip it’s been….