Arizona Kids Falling Further Behind the Rest of Nation in Health Coverage
CONTACT: Dana Wolfe Naimark
(602) 266-0707 #214
A Georgetown University Center for Children and Families report released today reveals while the nation as a whole is getting children covered at historically high levels, Arizona has been going in the opposite direction, with coverage eroding at a disturbingly high rate.
“Without health care coverage, Arizona children don’t have their own doctor to treat them when they’re sick or keep them healthy for school and all the other activities in their lives,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance. “Our own state policies have put more children at risk.”
Arizona ranks second in the nation in the number of children who lost coverage between 2010 and 2012, according to the report by the Georgetown University research center. During the same period, forty states saw improvements in children’s coverage due to the success of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“Medicaid and CHIP are examples of federal-state partnerships that work,” said Joan Alker, author of the Georgetown University CCF report. “Together they are improving health insurance coverage for children and are a testament to what states can accomplish when they leverage opportunities to meet the needs of children and families.”
Arizona is the only state to abandon its CHIP program. The state froze enrollment in KidsCare four years ago. Participation fell to less than 7,000 by November 2013. Temporary coverage for kids was created with a combination of hospital funding and federal funds. But KidsCare II is set to expire at the end of this year and enrollment in regular KidsCare will dwindle down to zero.
The federal Marketplace will offer options to many children, but without KidsCare Arizona’s system will leave gaps for kids that families in other states never have to face. “We built a temporary bridge to protect coverage for children through Kids Care II, but that bridge is about to be dismantled,” Naimark said. “State leaders can take steps to bring affordable coverage to more children or we can expect our policies to keep Arizona children behind.”
The Center for Children and Families (CCF) of the Georgetown University Health policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan policy and research center dedicated to expanding and improving health coverage for America’s children and families.
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. www.azchildren.org.