This is our rainy day – why isn’t Arizona investing in children’s health?
The American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, went into effect on March 11. The effort passed through Congress with several provisions that will make it easier for Americans to get high-quality, affordable health coverage. Notably, the plan increases and expands premium subsidies for health coverage through Healthcare.gov, the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. As a result, 207,000 uninsured adults can now enroll in Marketplace health coverage at no cost.
The premium subsidy increase is a tremendous move in the right direction. Unfortunately, at this point the increase is a temporary fix to larger problem of health care affordability in the U.S.
Arizona’s lawmakers must act to provide permanent relief to Arizona families by expanding eligibility for KidsCare, Arizona’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. The state’s rainy-day fund carries a balance of roughly a billion dollars, and tax revenues continue to outpace expectations. As we’ve noted previously, an infusion of federal relief funds saved AHCCCS (which administers KidsCare) $153 million in state fiscal year 2020 alone.
And yet, more than 161,000 uninsured Arizona children – the majority of whom are American Indian and/or Latino/a – live in households earning just slightly too much to qualify for the high-quality, low-cost health coverage provided through KidsCare.
Insuring children is an investment in Arizona’s future. When uninsured kids have access to coverage through Medicaid or CHIP, they come to school ready to learn. They’re more likely to graduate from high school and pursue secondary education. They earn more as adults, and are more likely to give birth to healthier infants than those who remained uninsured throughout childhood.
That’s why we’re urging our followers to contact lawmakers now and ask that they expand KidsCare income eligibility in the state budget. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a click and send advocacy platform – just put in your name and address, and the system will do the rest.
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