Ariz. Drops Kids’ Health Insurance Program Amid Major Budget Pressures
In an example of how states' fiscal crises are negatively affecting health care, Arizona on Thursday became the first state to cut its Children's Health Insurance Program, rescinding coverage from about 47,000 low-income children, the New York Times reports.
The Arizona budget, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R), also will reduce Medicaid coverage for childless adults, a move that is expected to drop 310,000 state residents from the program.
The cuts also might force Arizona to forgo millions of dollars in federal matching aid. The state might lose more federal matching funds if Congress passes legislation mandating that states maintain CHIP and Medicaid eligibility levels.
Arizona, California and Tennessee last year capped CHIP enrollment, but California and Tennessee removed the cap soon after, according to the Times.
Jocelyn Guyer, co-executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, said Arizona is "standing alone in cutting children off during the downturn," adding, "It's going to have long-term consequences that will be there for kids long after Arizona's budget situation gets better."
Hospital officials said the cuts might place an extra burden on emergency departments because more patients will have fewer options for care.
They added that children might suffer long-term developmental problems because of insufficient medical care (Sack, New York Times, 3/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.