Apple Health for Kids, Washington’s health coverage program for children, has won $12 million from the federal government for connecting more children to health care.
The Obama Administration awarded the money, a performance bonus, to Washington on Wednesday. Our state was among 23 states nationwide to earn bonuses for getting more children enrolled in health coverage.
“This is something to celebrate,” said Jon Gould, Children’s Alliance Deputy Director, in a press release we issued today. “The performance bonus recognizes Apple Health for Kids for what it is: a winning strategy to connect Washington’s children with the health care they need to thrive.”
Apple Health for Kids is affordable, comprehensive health coverage offered by the State of Washington. It was created by the State Legislature in 2007 for families with no other options for affordable coverage, and it currently covers nearly half of the state’s children.
Washington state’s successful health coverage boosts its reputation as a great place to grow healthy kids. Our state ranks fourth in the nation for child health, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT 2012 report.
Apple Health for Kids is also an essential component of our state’s efforts to provide children with the opportunity of a basic education, said Gould.
“Children do best in school when they’re healthy,” Gould said in today's release. “Apple Health for Kids prepares children for a brighter future by connecting them with the coverage they need today.”
Since December 2009, Apple Health for Kids has earned the state nearly $60 million in federal performance bonuses. The bonus money will be delivered by the end of the year.
Parents and state lawmakers worked with us to issue the following responses to the performance bonus:
“Apple Health for Kids has always been a high priority. Kids need access to health care throughout childhood to ensure they’re able to grow up healthy and chase their dreams. Washington is once again recognized as a national leader, and we’re proud to lead the way.”
– Governor Chris Gregoire
“We in Washington believe that every child should have the coverage they need to grow up healthy. I am proud to have supported Apple Health for Kids as a member of the U.S. Congress, so it’s great to see this tribute to Washington State’s tremendous partnerships with the health care community. I commend Apple Health for Kids and the people who make it work.”
– Governor-Elect Jay Inslee
“To contribute to our state’s future, children need the competitive edge of a great education. We know that kids do best in school when they’re healthy. Apple Health for Kids prepares nearly half of Washington’s children for a brighter future by connecting them to the health care they need today. Recognition and extra funding from the Obama Administration is welcome news and will help us keep our commitment to the health of children.”
– House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-Seattle)
“State policymakers have spent years thoughtfully building a health coverage system for kids that’s now serving as a national model. Even as our recent recession has taken a toll on families, thanks to Apple Health for Kids, more children have the means to connect with a doctor or other health care professional before ordinary childhood illnesses become costly, lifelong problems. This federal award is one more example of the benefits that Apple Health for Kids brings to our state.”
– Senator Ed Murray (D-Seattle)
“Apple Health for Kids is a great example of how our state partners with families and doctors to ensure that all children have access to proper health care. Timely, preventive treatment gives kids the chance to focus on being productive in the classroom – an outcome that benefits them for life. I am encouraged by this federal performance bonus – it’s proper recognition for an outstanding asset.”
– Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island)
“Every child – rich or poor – needs health care. Apple Health for Kids is the way that we make sure each child gets the health care they need. This federal bonus is an achievement all of Washington’s citizens – parents and nurses, doctors and lawmakers – can be proud of.”
– Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma)
“This performance bonus recognizes what people in Washington have known for years: every child needs health care to succeed in school and in life. The preventive primary care provided through Apple Health for Kids saves our state money and it saves children’s lives. As a parent, I know the worry a sick child can bring on. I am proud to serve in a state that recognizes how important healthy kids are to our communities, our schools and our economy.”
– Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle)
“Thanks to Apple Health for Kids, more Washington children can get the health care they need to grow up healthy and strong. Our health coverage plan for kids is making a difference in child health, bringing flexible federal dollars into the state, and buying parents some precious peace of mind.”
– Rep. Larry Seaquist (D-Gig Harbor)
“I want every child, regardless of race, ability, or income, to get a great start in life. Having a medically fragile son, I know how important good health care is to families like mine all across the state. That’s why I support Apple Health for Kids. This is a great occasion to celebrate the fact that Apple Health for Kids is there for families, and to keep it going strong in 2013.”
– Pam Oliver, Everett
“My two daughters’ having health coverage through Apple Health for Kids has eased our finances. It’s nice to be able to keep them up-to-date on vaccines, and to know we don’t have to skimp on their care. Every parent should have the peace of mind of knowing their kids are covered.”
– Sally Guzman, Bellevue
Click here to read our press release, a fact sheet on Apple Health for Kids, and a compilation of these responses.