Arizona To End Children’s Health Care Program
With Congress expected to vote on healthcare reform today, it is cruel irony that the Arizona Republic reports that Kids-Care, providing health coverage to 39,000 Arizona children of the working poor, has been eliminated. The program, part of a federal initiative, was cut in an attempt to balance the state’s budget. $56 million of the $74 million price tag was paid by the federal government, leaving only $18 million from the state to keep the program in operation.
“This summer, Arizona will become the only state in the nation that doesn’t provide healthcare coverage under a federal program to insure children of the working poor.” according to the Republic’s story. The program will end in Arizona on June 15.
Critics argue that cutting the program will result in loss of preventive care, increased emergency room visits for illness and injury and increased insurance premiums to cover the costs of the uninsured. Proponents of eliminating the now lost program say that cutting it was necessary to balance the state’s budget.
Thirteen year old Gaites Klein, whose MRI’s and daily medication following removal of a brain tumor were covered under the program, was not impressed with the lawmakers’ decision. He summed it up better than any adult, “If I did not have that program, I would not be talking to you right now. I would die.”
Other states, including California, have considered cutting the program, but none has done so to date. The program is designed to cover children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase private health insurance. Participating families pay $10 to $70 a month for Kid’s-Care coverage.