Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sun, April 05

Arizona children to lose $76 million in unused federal health coverage<br>

PHOENIX-Arizona will lose $76 million in federal KidsCare dollars, which will revert back to the federal government for disbursement to states that have already spent their children's health insurance dollars. The loss of these monies comes just after a recent report found Arizona has the highest percentage of children without health insurance in the nation-over 300,000 Arizona children. Many of these uninsured children are eligible for KidsCare, but their parents either do not know about the program or do not know how to enroll.

This under-utilization of KidsCare can be attributed in part to the barriers that were enacted in the original KidsCare legislation and the lack of funding for outreach. Currently, the state in unable to contract with school for outreach services. The result has been lower than expected enrollment, while children's need for health care coverage continues to rise.

"The barriers the legislature constructed to enroll school children in KidsCare and to reach their working parents will be lifted with the passage of Proposition 200-Healthy Children, Healthy Families," said Carol Kamin, Executive Director of Children's Action Alliance. "Never again should precious resources available to provide health care coverage to Arizona's children be diverted to children in other states. These are Arizona's tax dollars meant for Arizona's kids."

Since 1999, when Arizona began enrolling children in KidsCare, 33,000 children have been enrolled. Another 34,000 have been enrolled in AHCCCS (Arizona's Medicaid program). Arizona currently receives three federal dollars for every dollars of state money spent to provide health insurance to children of working parents. Under federal law, states had three years to spend each year's allotment of Children's Health Insurance Program dollars. Any dollars that remained as of September 30, 200 would be redistributed to states that had spent their allocation

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