Friday, March 19, 2010

Arizona Drops Children’s Health Program

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Arizona on Thursday became the first state to eliminate its Children’s Health Insurance Program when Gov. Jan Brewer signed an austere budget that will leave nearly 47,000 low-income children without coverage.

The Arizona budget is a vivid reflection of how the fiscal crisis afflicting state governments is cutting deeply into health care. The state also will roll back Medicaid coverage for childless adults in a move that is expected to eventually drop 310,000 people from the rolls.

The cuts also mean the state will forgo hundreds of millions of dollars in federal matching aid, and could lose far more if Congress passes a health bill that requires states to maintain eligibility levels for the two programs.

The 12-year-old program, which enjoys bipartisan support in Congress, covers an estimated 7.7 million children whose parents typically make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private insurance.

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