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Children’s Action Alliance Statement by Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO: Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act Gives Arizona Leaders the Chance to Improve Health Care for Children and Families

Contact: Dana Wolfe Naimark, (602) 266-0707 #214 work, (602) 882-5755 cell

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Today’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act gives us the opportunity to bring affordable health care to all Arizonans, regardless of their health status, the size of their employer, or their income. 

Arizona children and families have already won important victories through the Affordable Care Act, including tax credits for small businesses, 60,000 young adults covered through their parents’ insurance, and sick children keeping access to treatment because health insurance plans can’t put time limits on their care.  With today’s Court decision, children with asthma, diabetes, or other conditions can’t be denied coverage.

It is clear that decisions to improve health care do not come only from the Supreme Court or Washington, DC.  Decisions made here in Arizona will continue to affect whether children get the care they need to grow up healthy and go to school ready to learn.  Our state’s leaders face important decisions affecting the health of millions of Arizonans, as well as our economy.  After reckless decisions that have moved health care backward, we have the chance to move forward for healthier kids and families. 

The Supreme Court decision appears to give states the ability to opt out of expanding their Medicaid programs under the law.  While this will certainly prompt political debates, there is no debate about the value of Medicaid health coverage to children and to our economy.  AHCCCS, Arizona’s version of Medicaid, keeps over 600,000 Arizona children healthy.  It is respected as a national model that has among the highest quality and lowest costs of any state.  The full cost of AHCCCS for children who become eligible from an expansion will be paid for by the federal funds. 

Children’s Action Alliance urges Arizona voters to ask all candidates for the state legislature about their positions on health care for children and families.  Visit our website, www.azchildren.org, to learn more about  issues and where candidates stand. 

Children’s Action Alliance is an independent voice for Arizona children at the state capitol and in the community.  CAA works to improve children’s health, education, and security through information and action.

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Prison Sentences of Life Without Parole for Youth

In addition to today’s SB 1070 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court also issued an extremely important decision in Miller v. Alabama which bans mandatory sentences of life without parole for youth who commit homicide while under the age of 18.

Although the ruling does not completely ban life without parole sentences for youth, it ensures that such punishments can only be imposed on a case-by-case basis. The ruling strikes down statutes currently in place in 29 states, including Arizona. The decision appears to require state courts to conduct new sentencing hearings where judges will have to consider children’s individual characters and life circumstances, including age, as well as the circumstances of the crime.  Arizona has an estimated 36 persons with life without parole sentences based on crimes committed prior to their 18 birthday. 

While we need to do much more to support struggling families and prevent crimes from occurring, CAA is pleased with the court’s decision that recognizes a youth’s potential for rehabilitation, growth and transformation.  In the 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the Eighth Amendment and prior case law prohibit mandates that sentence juveniles to life without parole for any offense. The reasoning, in part, is that youth are less culpable because of their age and developmental attributes even when they commit very serious crimes — in other words, the punishment of life without parole is inappropriately harsh for youth as a class — and that because life without parole is very similar to a death sentence, youth involved in such cases are     entitled to individualized consideration.

To see the full opinion, go here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-9646g2i8.pdf.  For a helpful analysis of the opinion, see the SCOTUS blog at http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/06/eighth-amendment-prohibits-mandatory-life-without-parole-for-juveniles/.

Voters and Candidates Get Information about Conditions for Kids in 30 New Legislative Districts

new ld fact sheet button for home pageChildren’s Action Alliance released new fact sheets highlighting conditions for children and families in each of Arizona’s 30 newly drawn legislative districts.  The fact sheets use recent U.S. Census data along with AIMS reading scores to paint a picture of some aspects of family life throughout Arizona.

Click here to view them.

Voters and Candidates Get Information about Conditions for Kids in 30 New Legislative Districts

Phoenix contact: Dana Wolfe Naimark
dnaimark@azchildren.org
(602) 266-0707 #214  work

Tucson contact: Penelope Jacks
psjacks@azchildren.org
(520) 795-4199 work

Download PDF Version

Children’s Action Alliance released new fact sheets highlighting conditions for children and families in each of Arizona’s 30 newly drawn legislative districts.  The fact sheets use recent U.S. Census data along with AIMS reading scores to paint a picture of some aspects of family life throughout Arizona.

“Arizona families need elected leaders who are accountable and work for them,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance.  “The fact sheets give both voters and candidates a good look at assets and needs for children so they can focus on the campaign issues that matter most for children’s success.”

The fact sheets show a wide variation in conditions in different parts of the state.  The percentage of children living in poverty, for example, varies from only 6% in legislative district #23 (North Scottsdale and Fountain Hills) to 40% in legislative district #30 (West Phoenix and parts of Glendale).

Despite the variation, the statistics show that Arizonans face many common challenges.  Even the wealthiest legislative districts include schools with low passing rates on the third grade AIMS reading test.

“The need for quality, affordable child care shouts out from the fact sheets,” said Naimark.  In every single legislative district more than half of the children have all their parents in the labor force.

“Campaign promises and platforms mean a lot more when they are based on local conditions and priorities,” Naimark concluded.  “This information gives candidates the chance to go beyond kissing babies in photo opps to supporting real strategies that improve children’s health, education, and security.”

The fact sheets can be viewed at www.azchildren.org. 

Children’s Action Alliance is an independent voice for Arizona children at the state capitol and in the community. CAA works to improve children’s health, education, and security through information and action.