Friday, May 6, 2016

KidsCare is Thrown a Lifeline

Posted By on Fri, May 6, 2016 at 11:06 AM

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KidsCare is ailing, but help may be on the way. I posted yesterday that it only takes six Republicans to join together and hold a bill hostage, then make demands before they agree to vote for the bill. In this case, fourteen House Republicans joined Democrats and voted to insert language reviving KidsCare into an unrelated bill. Credit where credit is due, they did the right thing. The problem is, it still has a few people standing in the way. Earlier in the session, Senate President Andy Biggs shut down KidsCare legislation, which he knew had the votes to pass, by standing in the way of it getting a hearing. And then there's Ducey's signature. There's no saying what measures these two ideologues might take when faced with the prospect of providing health care for 30,000 children at no cost to the state.

This recent Republican move isn't as bold as withholding votes on the budget until KidsCare is reinstated. If it fails in the Senate or doesn't get Ducey's signature, that means it's too little, too late. I'm hoping this works. We'll see.

Initially, I was concerned that the KidsCare reinstatement was attached to SB 1457, a private school voucher bill. However, it's not one of the big bills that substantially increases funding or the number of eligible children. The bill allows a student who already qualified for one of the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (aka Vouchers on Steroids) due to a disability to continue receiving funds through the age of 22 if it's determined that the disability still exists. Honestly, I don't know enough about this to have a strong opinion one way or another. I remember in the school district where I worked, some students with disabilities could continue attending high school well after they turned 18, so it isn't an unprecedented move. This sounds like one of those times where the benefits of the compromise far outweigh the possible drawbacks.

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