Ducey looking at ‘rainy day fund’ to cover free health care for poor children

Gov. Doug Ducey reads to patients Tuesday at Phoenix Children’s Hospital while giving out candy for Halloween. With him is Barney the dog. The governor said later he may use state funds to keep a children’s health insurance program alive following congressional inaction. /Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Gov. Doug Ducey may tap the state’s “rainy day fund” to keep health care coverage for 23,000 Arizona children until Congress finally acts.

The governor said Tuesday that both the House and Senate are weighing legislation to restore funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It provides free care for children in families earning up to twice the federal poverty level, or about $40,840 a year for a family of three.

Cash for CHIP ran out when the federal fiscal year ended on Sept. 30.

In the interim, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has used unspent dollars from the just-ended budget year to keep the program alive. But Christina Corieri, the governor’s health adviser, said those funds are expected to dry up by the middle of December.

After that?

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