TUCSON – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement today praising the reinstating of Arizona’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), also known as KidsCare. Enrollment in the program, which provides vital health coverage to children in low income families, has been frozen since 2010, making Arizona the only state in the Union not to offer a CHIP program for needy children. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has formally approved Arizona’s plan to re-open the program.
“I’m thrilled to see Arizona’s KidsCare reinstated,” Rep. Grijalva said. “When state politicians froze the program in 2010, more than 45,000 children gradually lost coverage; our state became 49th in the nation for its rate of uninsured children; and the rate of uninsurance among the former KidsCare income eligibility range rose to a striking 16.5 percent. So many of us were appalled at the harm this decision was causing the most vulnerable among us, and we fought hard over the past six years to make health coverage for our children a reality. Thanks to those efforts, an estimated 30,000-40,000 uninsured children living in our state have a chance at healthier lives and brighter futures, and our state has the opportunity to take back a misstep that never should have lasted as long as it did. Both are good reasons for Arizonans to be celebrating today.”
Congressman Grijalva has been a prominent voice calling for Arizona to restore KidsCare over the past six years. He slammed the political maneuvering on May 4th 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.
Families interested in learning more about how to enroll can visit https://www.azahcccs.gov/Members/GetCovered/Categories/KidsCare.htmlhttps://www.azahcccs.gov/Members/GetCovered/Categories/KidsCare.html %20 or call 1-855-HEA-PLUS (1-855-432-7587).