STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs released the following statement urging Senate President Andy Biggs to allow HB 2309 (children's health insurance program) to be considered in the Senate:
For six years, enrollment in our state's KidsCare health insurance program has been frozen and tens of thousands of Arizona children from low-income working families have been denied quality, affordable health care. But beginning in October 2015 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now pays 100 percent of state costs through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through at least FY 2017 and likely through September 2019.
This is not a hand-out program. Participating families share the cost through required monthly payments. In fact, CHIP programs help stimulate businesses and our economy. A Harvard Business School study found that CHIP families have a 23 percent higher rate of self employment and a 31 percent higher rate of business ownership.
HB 2309, which would restore KidsCare, passed out of the House with an overwhelming bipartisan majority a week ago and awaits first read and assignment to committee in the Senate. Next week is the last week to hear bills in committee.
"Restoring KidsCare would help an estimated 30,000-40,000 kids get health care at absolutely no cost to the state and would infuse more than $75 million of our hard-earned federal tax dollars into our economy. And if the federal government ever decided to end their fiscal support of this program, state law would automatically limit or freeze enrollment to protect the state budget," said Senator Hobbs.
"Arizona has the nation's third highest percentage of uninsured children at almost 160,000. We should restore this program for the children and families who could see their futures change for the better, and we should restore it because it's simply the right thing to do."