Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Keeping kids insured benefits Az


Dana Wolfe Naimark

Jude Magers

This is Cover the Uninsured Week, and Arizona has much to be proud of in children’s health care coverage.

Thanks to federal and state leadership, KidsCare has for 10 years provided affordable coverage to working families.

Since its creation a decade ago, the rate of children with health insurance in Arizona has increased from 74 percent to 84 percent, even as private coverage has declined.

Today, KidsCare is keeping the families of 60,000 Arizona children strong, even when the economy is not, assuring that children are able to get the vaccines they need and go to the doctor for regular checkups, and enabling parents to go to work instead of staying home with a sick child.

Covering uninsured kids is a triple-win for our state. Kids win when everyday childhood sicknesses like asthma or an earache are caught early and don’t become lifelong health burdens.

Families win when a child’s sudden illness or playground injury doesn’t lead to bankruptcy. And taxpayers win when scarce health dollars are spent wisely on preventive care rather than on expensive emergency room care when problems are out of hand.

More good news is that Congress and President Obama reauthorized the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which includes KidsCare, so our state will continue receiving $3 from the federal government for every $1 Arizona spends on KidsCare. This money, together with premiums paid by families, will continue circulating in our economy at this critical time.

With hardworking parents losing their jobs and potentially their homes, families need health security for their kids more than ever.

An overwhelming number of family bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. One hospitalization for an asthma attack brought on by a soccer game or an emergency appendectomy could plunge a family into debt that they cannot get out of.

This puts the economic security of the family and the state at further risk, since the stability of the state is based on the economic stability of taxpayers.

Thankfully, as the Legislature and governor adjusted this year’s budget to close the deficit, they did not cut KidsCare, recognizing its importance to the health of our state

As the state faces another large deficit in next year’s budget, it would be a big mistake to cut KidsCare. Without KidsCare, Arizona would face higher health care costs from sicker children who miss more school and grow up less prepared to contribute to our economy.

And our hard-earned federal tax dollars would be given to children and parents in other states.

Arizona needs KidsCare because private health insurance doesn’t reach all children – nor can it. In fact, private insurance is covering fewer and fewer families because small businesses increasingly find they cannot afford to provide that coverage.

In Arizona, only half of private sector employers offer health coverage to their employees – and even fewer offer coverage to the children of employees.

Thanks to our public leaders, AHCCCS (our state’s Medicaid program) and KidsCare have filled in the gaps so that more children have the health care they need when they need it.

In these tough economic times, KidsCare is exactly the kind of investment we want from our tax dollars: an investment that pays off in healthier kids, stronger families, fewer expensive visits to hospital emergency rooms, better performance in school and more federal tax dollars in Arizona.

You can help to make Cover the Uninsured Week a celebration for Arizona’s kids and families. If you know the parent of an uninsured child, encourage that person to call 873-5042 or visit www.carondelet.org/kids care to see if KidsCare can help.

Dana Wolfe Naimark is president and chief executive of Children’s Action Alliance. Jude Magers is vice president for mission integration at Carondelet Health Network.

With hardworking parents losing their jobs and potentially their homes, families need health security for their kids more than ever.

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service