It’s 2020, which means it’s the year of the United States Census. You may have already been contacted by a census worker, or received a census mailing at your home, and wondered why your responses even matter.
The results that people like you provide for the census - conducted only every 10 years - are used to decide how hundreds of billions of federal dollars will be spent on important things like road construction, education and healthcare. “Arizona’s 2020 Census count will ensure that our state receives its fair share of federal funding for critical programs that support the health of Arizonans, like Medicaid,” said Michael R. Foley, MD, a women & infant service line physician executive for Banner Health in Phoenix, AZ.
The Census and Arizona Healthcare
When you and others in your community participate and get counted in the census, it has a direct impact on the healthcare available for millions of Arizonans.
- Capacity for Medical Clinics and Hospitals: Arizona medical providers use the data collected from the census to decide how many doctors, nurses, hospital beds, supplies, and more, are needed for a particular area. Being able to provide adequate medical resources, especially in a time like now with COVID-19, is critical to the health of your community. “Your participation in the 2020 Census has a direct impact on our state having the medical resources we need,” said Dr. Foley.
- Healthcare Funding: Critical Health Programs like Medicaid and KidsCare: KidsCare, Arizona's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), provides low cost health insurance for children in Arizona who may not otherwise be insured, while Medicaid provides comprehensive, quality health care to Arizonans in need. The federal government allocates money to each state for these programs, based on population data collected in the census. Additionally, the census ensures access to vital resources for mothers and children. “Medicaid covers half of all baby deliveries, nursery stays and pediatric care in our state, and research continually shows that access to prenatal and primary care ensures healthier outcomes for moms and babies,” said Dr. Foley.
- Supporting New Moms and Newborns: When a mom has a new baby, she needs all the support she can get to ensure she stays well, and her baby starts life in the most safe and healthy way. The federal government provides grants to each state’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This program provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children age 0-5 who are at nutritional risk. The count from the 2020 Census ensures Arizona gets its fair share of this WIC funding, in addition to supporting programs that offer lactation and postpartum support to moms.
You’ve heard it before: children are our future. But if children aren’t healthy and safe, what kind of future will they—and our state—have? “By getting a complete count of all Arizonans in the 2020 Census, including newborns and young children, we can ensure we have the resources for critical programs that keep our children healthy and safe, including housing assistance programs, school nutrition programs and children's healthcare,” according to Dr. Foley.
“Each year, at just Banner Health hospitals in Arizona alone, more than 33,000 babies are born, and half of those are covered through Medicaid,” said Dr. Foley. “Your role in providing responses to the 2020 Census has a direct link to our state’s ability to provide services that result in healthier outcomes for moms and babies, and a stronger community for everyone.”