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September 13th, 2017
Grijalva: CHIP Agreement Makes Moral and Economic Sense

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Grijalva released the following statement after reports of a Senate Finance Committee agreement to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years has been reached. Under this agreement, enhanced federal matching funds, first included under the Affordable Care Act, will be maintained through 2019. Arizona’s CHIP program, KidsCare provides vital health coverage to low-income families. Prior to ending a freeze on the program’s enrollment, Arizona ranked 49th in the nation for its rate of uninsured children.

“It is encouraging to see both Republicans and Democrats coming together to ensure that more than 9 million low-income children under the CHIP program are protected,” said Rep. Grijalva. “I welcome the news that funding levels will be held steady especially for a state like Arizona, which has faced an uphill battle by its own State legislature in making health coverage for our children a reality. If this agreements is swiftly adopted it will certainly alleviate some concerns for the next two years. However it is ultimately the responsibility of our State to change its misguided law that threatens to gut the program if federal funding falls below 100 percent. There is no doubt that healthier children and families directly correlates to a healthier economy. It is time for Arizona to stand up for what makes both economic and moral sense, and drop the dangerous ultimatum they have placed on our program.”

A 2016 Grand Canyon Institute report found that even at lower federal match the total economic impact of KidsCare will be around $60 million and at least $2.1 million in state and local government revenue would be gained.

Congressman Grijalva has been a prominent voice calling for Arizona to restore KidsCare over the past seven years. He slammed the political maneuvering last year that excluded KidsCare from the State Budget, and highlighted a recent Grand Canyon Institute report demonstrating that in addition to long term health benefits for children, ending the freeze on enrollment would create approximately $75 million in economic benefits for Arizona in FY2017 alone. Prior to that, he wrote State Senate President Andy Biggs in April, advising him that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would cover the full cost of the program through 2017 and urging the program be reinstated. He opposed initial plans to freeze the program and has led efforts at the federal level since 2010 to reinstate the program.


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