Last week, a bipartisan effort in the Arizona state legislature secured passage of legislation to unfreeze KidsCare, the state’s version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program. In doing so, Democrats and Republicans came together to restore a critical program that will provide thousands of children with the opportunity and the ability to live a healthy life.
This is a big win for children and families across the state. With the restoration of KidsCare, children living in families who earn a little too much to qualify for Medicaid, but still lack affordable coverage options through the private market, now have access to health coverage. The state’s Medicaid agency estimates that the restoration of KidsCare will provide between 30,000 and 40,000 children with affordable health coverage specifically designed for kids.
This is also a big win for health equity and the idea that every child deserves the opportunity to grow up healthy and thrive. With one out of eight Latino children in Arizona uninsured, or about 89,000 children, Arizona has the fourth-highest number of uninsured Latino children in the country, behind only California, Texas, and Florida. By restoring KidsCare, Arizona has taken a significant step in reducing its Latino child uninsurance rate, and providing a level playing field for all children to get covered.
Until last Friday, Arizona was the only state in the country without a functioning CHIP program. Research shows that children with health coverage have greater academic success and increased economic opportunities as adults. By unfreezing KidsCare, Arizona has officially joined the other 49 states in recognizing that by providing quality, affordable health coverage options for children, the state is making an important investment in its future. At NCLR, we applaud the bipartisan effort to unfreeze KidsCare, and will continue working every day to ensure that all children have the ability to grow up healthy and reach their full potential.