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3 steps Arizona’s lawmakers should take to improve access to health care in 2022

Having access to affordable, high-quality health care can make all the difference for a child. Kids with health insurance miss fewer days of school, get better grades, and are more likely to graduate from high school. Pregnant people who were covered by Medicaid and CHIP in their own childhood give birth to healthier infants than their peers who did not have health insurance.

In short, investing in access to health care can help families build a healthy economic future for generations to come.

The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) made critical investments in health care affordability, which we’ve detailed in a new report entitled “Acting on Affordable Care: The American Rescue Plan’s Role in Arizona’s Path to Pandemic Recovery.” But, as we note in the report - it’s up to Arizona’s Congressional delegation to solidify these changes, and up to state lawmakers to take full advantage of the flexibilities offered under the ARPA.

Please write Senators Sinema and Kelly and urge them to pass the Build Back Better package before the new year.

We need our state legislature to make sure that Arizona families can access the health care they need in 2022 and beyond.

  1. Extend postpartum AHCCCS coverage to a full twelve months after pregnancy. This is a low-cost intervention that will help save lives and prevent severe illness, particularly among people of color.CLICK HERE to send a postcard to your state lawmaker stressing the importance of this issue.
  2. Make KidsCare more accessible to more families.
    1. By increasing the income eligibility threshold for KidsCare to reflect the increased cost of living, thousands of uninsured children in Arizona will have access to high quality health coverage. Learn more.
    2. Cut the wait period and keep kids enrolled year-round.
  3. Allow green card holders to access health coverage. Arizona should adopt the Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA) so children and pregnant people with green cards won’t have to wait five years to enroll in AHCCCS or KidsCare.
  4. Keep former foster youth enrolled until age 26. The Affordable Care Act ensured children who age out of foster care at 18 can stay covered by Medicaid, regardless of their income but that doesn’t always happen. We’ll be advancing legislation to ensure that young people who age out can stay connected to the care they need.
  5. Cover oral health care through Medicaid. AHCCCS is one of the largest sources of health coverage in Arizona, but does not provide routine, preventive oral health care services to adults. As a result, too many Arizonans are forced to wait until a situation becomes dire to seek care in the emergency room for preventable oral health concerns. We can change that by adopting comprehensive oral health coverage for adults enrolled in AHCCCS.

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