Arizona Doesn’t Restore Federal Child Health Care Program

PHOENIX — Lawmakers here early Wednesday reaffirmed Arizona as the only state to not participate in a program that offers health care to children of the working poor.

A proposal to restore the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, known in Arizona as KidsCare, stalled in the State Senate this week as lawmakers passed a $9.6 billion budget. Senate leaders voiced concern that the federal government would eventually cut payments to the children’s health care program and that the state would be forced to assume the cost.

State lawmakers originally froze enrollment in the program about six years ago amid an economic slowdown. But supporters saw an opportunity to restore the program after Congress last year increased the states’ matching rate by 23 percent, which allowed 10 states, including Arizona, to receive full reimbursement because of their low per capita income.

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