Arizona legislature: Medicaid restoration/expansion hearing on Wednesday

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings

 

Thanks to Brahm Resnick of Channel 12 for spotting this and pointing it out

A few years ago, the Republicans in the Arizona legislature "balanced" the state's budget on the backs of Arizona's most vulnerable residents by radically cutting access to health care for Arizona's poor.  The "balance the budget" subterfuge was used as an excuse for similar ends in other states.

With the advent of federal health care reform, known as Obamacare, many states, including AZ, must now expand or restore health care coverage for the poor to reap the full fiscal benefits of the federal law.

This past Tuesday, Governor Jan Brewer, to great fanfare, released her proposed legislation to restore eligibility for AHCCCS, Arizona's Medicaid program, to include those families who have an annual income level up to 133% of the federal property level.

This coming Wednesday, March 20, at 2 p.m,, the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposal, including a presentation from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) and taking public testimony from the public.

While I expect that the witness list will be heavy with Goldwater Institute corporate shills, opposing Medicaid for their clients' fun and profit (the committee is chaired by Rep. John Kavanagh, after all), a healthy turnout of supporters is needed to demonstrate that there is strong support in Arizona for the restoration of Medicaid coverage to previous levels.

Details –

 

Where:  HHR1, House of Representatives building, Arizona State Capitol, 1700 West Washington, Phoenix.

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Time: 2 p.m. (seating is limited, so plan to arrive early)

0 responses to “Arizona legislature: Medicaid restoration/expansion hearing on Wednesday

  1. Craig, the Arizona Republic has some interesting reporting on this hearing. http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20130313arizona-medicaid-expansion-bill-assigned-panel-led-by-foe.html:

    Kavanagh said the hearing, scheduled for next Wednesday, will focus on the numbers, not the politics.

    “I want this to be informational and not political, with both sides babbling talking points,” Kavanagh said. “It’s not my plan at this point to have everybody just line up and start saying things.”

    Kavanagh said that he wasn’t sure who would appear besides representatives of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Legislature’s budget-writing arm, and that it was possible the hearing could be postponed.

    Now Kavanagh has his panties in a twist. http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20130315kavanagh-ahcccs-e-mail-infuriated.html:

    Kavanagh said he is scaling back his planned agenda, allowing only the Legislature’s budget analysts to make a presentation so there will be ample time for public testimony.

    Originally, he had not planned on public testimony, but he said it would be hard to turn away what he expects to be a large crowd.

    His earlier plans called for representatives of AHCCCS, hospitals and the Goldwater Institute to talk — presentations that he said he will now schedule for later.

    “In the future, when we do public hearings, I will make it very clear that they will be informational hearings only; no public comment until there’s a bill,” Kavanagh said.

    * * *

    The hearing begins at 2 p.m. Wednesday in House Hearing Room 1, 1700 W. Washington St.

    Kavanagh said the venue is the largest hearing room available, “unless (Phoenix Mayor) Greg Stanton gives me the Orpheum (Theatre).”