Arizona Contingency Plan to Fund Kids Health Care Program

Arizona Kids HealthCare

YUMA, Ariz. - Funding for the KidsCare Program ran out at the end of September, and Congress has yet to re-authorize the program.

Around 24,000 Arizona children are enrolled in the state's KidsCare program. A spokeswoman for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Heidi Capriotti says the government gave more funds to some states to help them keep their programs running through the end of this month, but what about next month?

Healthcare for children could be at risk this upcoming month. With no congressional action in sight, Medicaid officials are preparing to implement a contingency plan to guarantee that children of low-income parents do not lose their coverage in December.

Nearly 24,0000 children could be affected. That means no basic health care for these children. The money the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System has been using to keep the KidsCare program working is slowly running out since Congress cut off funding October 1st.

A short-term solution would be to use other money Arizona receives from the federal government for its separate traditional Medicaid plan to pay the premiums for children in the KidsCare program. If Congress does not come through by the first quarter of 2018, it will be up to state lawmakers to decide where to find the money.

Former Senate candidate and pediatrician, Dr. Robert Cannell said, "30% of our senators are really to the right and I am afraid they will not support it. If you do not have KidsCare you end up paying more than you do, but it is very hard to convince very strong conservatives of that...And so there is a constant fight to get KidsCare and I think the kids deserve it and it really saves our society money in the long run."

An option for children without healthcare this upcoming month could be the Sunset Community Health Center who has helped children and families in the community without insurance for years.

Officials expect the money to last past January, but hope for Congress to reauthorize the KidsCare program sometime after next year. 

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