22,000 Arizona kids to get health insurance

May 01, 2012

Around 22,000 low-income kids will now be able to get health care, through Arizona’s Child Health Insurance Program, known as Kids Care. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Mark Brodie reports.

MARK BRODIE: The state has frozen enrollment in KidsCare since 2010. But Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Maricopa Integrated Health System and the U of A Health Network pooled more than $10.5 million to open the program up to 21,700 kids currently on the waiting list. That money will be tripled by the federal government, after it approved the plan last month. Dr. Sara Bode, Director of Community Pediatrics at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, says access to health care will help kids reach their full potential.

Gov. Jan Brewer Gov. Jan Brewer (Photo by Mark Brodie - KJZZ)

SARA BODE: By providing these children a medical home and early childhood services, we can drastically change the course of these children’s lives. It makes them much more likely to stay in school, lead a successful adult life and make significant contributions to our society.

BRODIE: There are currently around 105,000 kids on the waiting list to get in to KidsCare. Advocates say if the state kicked in $7 million, it could have opened the program up to all of them. But Governor Jan Brewer says that wasn’t a realistic possibility.

JAN BREWER: It’s pretty evident that we don’t have the $7 million, so what we have experienced here today is an example of how we’re trying to address some of those issues in an innovative manner.

BRODIE: This expansion will serve kids who live at 100 to 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Level -- that’s less than $34,000 a year for a family of three. Hospital officials say they expect to be reimbursed for two-thirds of their costs for proving this care.

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