Thursday, September 28, 2017

NEW: Arizona's Kidscare Program Won't Run Out of Money In 2017 Despite Congressional Inaction, Per AHCCCS

Congress is allowing federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program ("CHIP") to expire - at least temporarily - this weekend, and Arizona has been identified as one of three states most at-risk. However, the Arizona Kidscare program is "expect(ed) to be funded through the end of the calendar year."

National articles discussing the federal lapse in funding on September 30 have cited an analysis of June data showing Arizona as one of the three states (and the District of Columbia) likely to run out of funding sometime in October, November or December.

However, AHCCCS Public Information Officer Heidi Capriotti tells Arizona's Politics that they have been working with the Governor's Office and the federal CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to make sure that the 22,000 Arizona children receiving healthcare coverage through the program remain covered.

"Through carry-forward allotments and re-distributions, we expect Kidscare to be funded through the end of the year,"  Capriotti said. She also noted that recent reports from other states indicate that Arizona is not in as dire straits as several others.

The national report using June data expected that Arizona would have $60.1M in redistribution funding from prior allotments and that that would not last more than three months; only Minnesota, North Carolina and the District of Columbia had that small of a cushion.

In fact, while it only shows total revenues and expenses from the Kidscare fund, Arizona's OpenBooksAZ website shows that the state has received approximately $8M from the federal government in the months of July and August, and that the income had exceeded the outgo by about $1.5M. For Arizona's 2017FY (ended June 30, 2017), the revenue exceeded the expenses by approximately $0.5M.

Capriotti also notes that it appears that Congress is starting to move forward on approving the CHIP budget. If Congress and the President approve it in 2017, there would be no actual interruption of services.  She also points out that recent reports from other states indicate that Arizona may not have one of the smallest cushions, after all.

Arizona is required to provide the 22,000 Kidscare members a 30-day notice if the benefits are expiring. No such notice is expected this year.

The national CHIP and its Arizona version have both had rocky periods where the hot winds of politics have threatened to run them aground. The current storm does not appear to be a Cat 5...yet.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

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