Ducey signs bill restoring kids health insurance

PHOENIX, Ariz.-Arizona is going to restore a program it placed on hold six years ago to provide health care to the children of the working poor.

Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation Friday to allow Arizona to accept federal dollars to restart the KidsCare program. Backers say it could help about 30,000 children.

Arizona Senator Lynne Pancrazi said, “The governor signed it, he tweeted it and I guess they have a picture of him signing it.”

This bill will restore the KidsCare program that once covered 60,000 low income children in Arizona.

Pancrazi says this plan is for the parents that are working two to three jobs. She said she heard from a single woman trying to figure out how to provide healthcare for her child, because the insurance that was offered by her company was extremely high.

Pancrazi says whether parents have insurance or not, their kids need insurance.

Until this bill was approved, Arizona was the only state in the nation without a version of the children’s health insurance program.

Yuma Regional Medical Center’s Dr. Robert Cannell said, “They are torn, wondering if they are going to put food on the table or are they going to buy medicine. Every child needs access to healthcare, everybody needs access to healthcare.”

Restoring the program will provide insurance to 30,000 children in Arizona, whose parents earn between 138 to 200 percent of the federal poverty line at no cost to the state.

Cannell said, “The state can actually well afford it, I think Mr. Biggs’ concern is that the budget is going to get tighter.”

Cannell says KidsCare is for families, who are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid or Access, but don’t have insurance or the ability to pay for their kids doctor visits.

Cannell says not providing healthcare for children ultimately ends up costing more money, because illnesses that may have been easy to treat turn into emergency situations that not only cost more money to cure, but can take a bigger toll on children’s health.

Pancrazi says children that are healthy learn better. Healthy children turn into better adults. As an educator for 30 years, she saw a range of health issues from asthma, allergies, vision problems and hearing problems, so she fully supports the KidsCare insurance plan.

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