Arizona Governor Blocks 31,000 Low-Income Children From Access To Life Saving Healthcare

As Arizona grapples with passing their Constitutionally required budget, its governor, Doug Ducey, informed legislators that he will no longer be supporting the extension of the state’s KidsCare program. The program, which is a branch of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (which Hillary Clinton lobbied for), serves over 31,000 low-income children, many of whom have chronic illnesses.

Steve Farley, a Democratic Senator in the legislature, posted on Facebook:

Such sad news. We just received word that the Governor is no longer supporting the extension of KidsCare healthcare to 31,000 low-income children, and is now saying those kids, many of whom are suffering chronic illnesses, will have to wait till next year. We remain the only state in the country that does not cover these kids.

Gov. Ducey decided it would be too much trouble to overcome the opposition of extremist ideologues in the House, even though we had the Senate votes to win.

There would be ZERO COST to the state to extend this coverage. Some of those kids will not be alive next year. This is a complete failure of leadership on the part of the Governor and the legislative majority

Let that sink in: if the Governor gets his way, Arizona will continue to be the only state that does not cover low-income children’s healthcare services. Even Kansas, which is on the brink of near total financial collapse, extends this program.

The program was cut almost in its entirety in 2011 thanks to Arizona’s former governor Jan Brewer. Not only did she cut the program, she imposed enrollment caps on the Medicaid system to ensure that program would almost never return. Those actions caused 14,000 children to lose their healthcare. In total, with the caps put into place, over 300,000 lost their access.

Reports released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families found these startling facts about Arizona’s heartless treatment of children:

  • “Children went without needed care or had to stop taking prescribed medications because their families could no longer afford them.”
  • “Arizona ranks 49th nationwide for percentage of uninsured children, a ranking likely tied to its rejection of CHIP.”
  • “By July 2011 the KidsCare waiting list had grown to more than 100,000 children” (it’s most likely grown since then).
  • “Arizona families experienced chaos, confusion and disruptions in care for their children after the program ended.”

But don’t worry, folks. In the Arizona budget, there’s about  $18 million that will go towards private prisons. So while some kids face a totally preventable death, prisons will get their coffers stuffed with all sorts of monetary rewards.

Hooray for pro-life Republicans!

Featured image via Maury Phillips/Getty Images