- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on the legislative effort to restore KidsCare (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation restoring a health insurance program for about 30,000 low-income children just a few hours after it passed the Legislature.

The Republican governor’s action Friday means Arizona joins 49 other states that have a version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Known as KidsCare in Arizona, the program but was frozen in 2010 because of a state budget crunch.

The House approved the bill Thursday after a floor fight pitted conservative Republicans who oppose the program against more moderate members of the majority caucus and all House Democrats.

The bill reached the Senate Friday and a similar bipartisan coalition maneuvered around Senate President Andy Biggs to bring the issue to a vote and send it to Ducey.

The governor had never openly backed the restoration.

KidsCare will insure children whose parents earn between 138 and 200 percent of the federal poverty line at no cost to the state at least through 2017.

1:20 p.m.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says he will sign legislation restoring a health insurance program for about 30,000 low-income children as soon as it hits his desk.

The Republican governor’s announcement Friday means Arizona will join 49 other states that have a version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Known as KidsCare in Arizona, the program but was frozen in 2010 because of a state budget crunch.

The House approved the bill Thursday after a floor fight pitted conservative Republicans who oppose the program against more moderate members of the majority caucus and all House Democrats.

The bill reached the Senate Friday and a similar bipartisan coalition maneuvered around Senate President Andy Biggs to bring the issue to a vote and send it to Ducey.

The governor had never openly backed the restoration.

KidsCare will insure children whose parents earn between 138 and 200 percent of the federal poverty line at no cost to the state at least through 2017.

12:05 p.m.

The Arizona Senate has passed a bill restoring a health insurance program for about 30,000 low-income children and sent it to Gov. Doug Ducey for his consideration.

Friday’s 16-12 vote came after a bipartisan group of lawmakers moved to change Senate rules and force consideration of Senate Bill 1457. Five Republicans joined all Democrats in backing the plan.

The maneuver was needed because Senate President Andy Biggs strongly opposes the program known as KidsCare and blocked it for weeks. But he noted before Friday’s session began that the group pushing KidsCare was in the majority and he expected them to force a vote.

Ducey hasn’t said if he will sign the legislation, only that he is open to the plan. His spokesman said Friday he will act “quickly” on the bill.

The development comes after the House moved Thursday to put the expansion on an unrelated school voucher bill. That prompted an hours-long fight but the measure passed on a 38-21 vote.

Arizona is the only state without a version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program. Arizona’s plan was frozen in 2010 because of a state budget crunch. There’s no cost to the state at least through 2017.

11:25 a.m.

Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs says he expects a bipartisan group of lawmakers to move to change Senate rules to force a debate on a bill restoring a health insurance program for about 30,000 low-income children.

The Republican leader strongly opposes the program known as KidsCare and has blocked it for weeks. But he said Friday that a majority can change the rules to require consideration of the proposal and he expects that to happen.

The development comes after the House moved Thursday to put the expansion on an unrelated school voucher bill. That prompted an hours-long fight but the measure passed on a 38-21 vote.

Arizona is the only state without a version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program. Arizona’s plan was frozen in 2010 because of a state budget crunch. There’s no cost to the state at least through 2017.

3 a.m.

The legislative battle over a bill restoring a program providing health insurance to an estimated 30,000 low-income children is now squarely in the hands of the Arizona Senate.

Backers of the plan hope to persuade Senate President Andy Biggs to put the proposal up for a vote Friday. But Biggs is adamantly proposed to the KidsCare plan.

Senate supporters may have to engage in complicated maneuvers to get Biggs to agree to a vote on Senate Bill 1457. Republicans in the House used just such tactics to move the bill there on Thursday.

Arizona is the only state without a version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program. Arizona’s plan was frozen in 2010 because of a state budget crunch. There’s no cost to the state at least through 2017.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide