NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 19, 2010

Arizona became the first state in the United States to eliminate children's health insurance program when Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed a trimmed-back budget on Thursday.

The decision drew worries from hospital officials and advocates for low-income people, who fear that children might suffer enduring developmental problems because of inadequate medical attention:

  • The budget will leave 47,000 low-income children without medical coverage, an indication of how the fiscal crisis afflicting state governments is cutting deeply into health care.
  • The state will also roll back Medicaid coverage for childless adults in a move that is expected to eventually drop 310,000 people from the rolls.

Gov. Brewer has promised to end the days of "expanded government," and said that the cuts are necessary to "begin the Arizona comeback."

"We are broke. The checkbook is overdrawn, the credit card is maxed out and we have mortgaged the house and Arizona cannot take any more of it," said Brewer.

  • The state's Republican-controlled legislature approved the budget last week to reduce spending by about $100 million dollars in the current fiscal year and $1.1 billion in the next one.
  • The state faced a $2.6-billion-dollar deficit for fiscal 2011.

Source: Imani Randolph, "Health Care Reform Heats Up Arizona,", March 18, 2010; Sarah Buduson, "AZ Budget Permanently Eliminates Several Programs,", March 18, 2010; and Report, "Arizona drops children's health insurance program in trimmed budget," Xinhua, March 18, 2010.

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