Arizona Republic editorial: Brewer’s Medicaid-expansion plan good for Arizona

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Arizona Republic today in an editorial opinion supports Governor Jan Brewer's Medicaid (AHCCCS) restoration Plan. Brewer's Medicaid-expansion plan good for Arizona:

Gov. Jan Brewer officially put her plan on the table on Tuesday.

It is a straightforward — and forward-thinking — approach to expanding Medicaid.

Her toughest opponents are her fellow Republicans in the Legislature,
and that’s too bad because this is a fiscally sensible plan.

Brewer is looking out for Arizona’s best interests. She wants to
restore coverage to those who lost it during the Great Recession and
expand coverage to bring in a generous federal match under the
Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.”

Her plan would bring in $1.6 billion in federal funding in fiscal
2015 alone. It would bring 300,000 people under medical coverage.

The humanitarian argument is compelling. It is simple decency to make
sure sick people get the care they need. Arizona voters have supported
this idea twice at the ballot box.

It also makes economic sense.

Keeping people off the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
doesn’t prevent them from becoming sick. But it can mean they wind up in
the emergency room — a less efficient way to deliver medical care that
saddles hospitals with uncompensated costs.

That’s why hospitals enthusiastically support Brewer’s plan for a
provider assessment — yes, some will call it a tax — to raise Arizona’s
share of the cost and bring in the generous federal match. The
governor’s plan bans hospitals from passing on the cost to patients.

In addition to health-care providers, the governor has the support of
the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders, religious
groups and advocates for children, minorities and the elderly — 110
organizations in all. No wonder.

AHCCCS is an efficient, state-run program, not some federal behemoth.
It was designed in Arizona for Arizonans. It is no shame to bring in
federal dollars to help it serve more Arizonans.

Yes, we know there’s no such thing as free money, and it is
absolutely correct that the federal match comes, in part, from taxes
collected from Arizonans. But lawmakers should bring as much as they can
back to the state.

It is Arizonans who will suffer, not Uncle Sam, if our hospitals stagger under the weight of uncompensated care.

Those who fear the federal government will fail to live up to the
promise to pay the lion’s share of costs for expanding Medicaid also
make a good point. But Brewer’s expansion includes a fail-safe. If
federal support falls below 80percent, Arizona can walk away.

Fiscal conservatives in the Legislature need to swallow hard and go
along with Brewer on this one. She’s not a wild-eyed liberal. She’s
honed her conservative credentials over decades in public service.
Brewer fought Obamacare with enormous vigor.

But that fight is over. Now the challenge is to make the program work for Arizona.

That’s exactly what the governor is trying to do.

It's time for you to take action: contact your state legislators and demand that they support the governor's Medicaid (AHCCCS) Restoration Plan: organize a rally in support; host a genuine public forum (not those astroturf events from the "Kochtopus"-funded Americans For Prosperity or Tea Party); and write a letter to the editor or guest opinion with your personal experiences of how Medicaid has benefitted you, or a family member, or a friend.

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