Gov. Jan Brewer on May 6 signed a bill to restore funding that was stripped from AHCCCS and KidsCare, a move aimed at preventing the loss of more than $7 billion in federal money for health care.
The bill, S1043, authorizes the state to accept $385 million in federal stimulus money for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, and about $49 million for KidsCare, Arizona’s wing of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The Legislature and Brewer eliminated KidsCare and drastically scaled back AHCCCS coverage in the fiscal year 2011 budget. But the landmark health care bill passed by Congress several days later prohibited such moves and threatened to pull billions in funding from any state that decreased its health care coverage.
The bill only authorizes the state to accept federal funding, not provide the funding itself. The bill is contingent on Congress approving an extension of federal stimulus funds to pay for the program, which is expected but has not yet occurred.
The bill was signed along with 26 others. Brewer also signed bills to create a “letter grade” evaluation system for public schools; study the feasibility of allowing private vendors to operate some state parks; create a uniform course numbering system for colleges; and rename the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum to the Centennial Museum and transfer control to the Arizona Historical Society.