CMS allows Arizona to expand kids' coverage

Arizona has reached a deal with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to expand coverage to children of the state's working poor, reported Kaiser Health News.

Arizona's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has had its enrollment frozen since 2009 and has a waiting list of more than 120,000 children, according to the article.

The agreement will provide almost 22,000 more kids with coverage, reported the East Valley Tribune.

Under the agreement, Arizona will use a variety of local money and funding from the University of Arizona Health System to draw down matching federal dollars to expand the coverage, as well as pay hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of its patients higher rates, noted Kaiser Health News.

The deal has the support of Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, because it does not require the state to contribute funding directly, according to the Tribune.

"This is the kind of innovative collaboration that can help us address our most urgent health needs without blowing a hole in the state budget," the governor said Friday in statement.

To learn more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- read the East Valley Tribune article 
- here's Gov. Brewer's statement (.pdf)