PHOENIX — Arizona joined the rest of the nation in offering a federal health insurance program after Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill on Friday, opening it up to about 30,000 low-income children.
The bill, commonly known as KidsCare, was approved with a 16-12 vote on Friday 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.
Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, one of five Senate Republicans who backed the measure, said it was important to make sure that children can get medical care.
“These are children who need health care, who are in the most needy situation,” Worsley said. “And at least currently, this is not costing us anything here in the state. And so I think it made sense and I was passionate about making sure we got it for those sick kids.”
In a tweet, Ducey said he would sign the legislation. 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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