Category Archives: Healthcare

Court of Appeals is skeptical of Tea-Publican legislators’ appeal of Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan

Our Tea-Publican state legislators were in court on Valentine’s day trying to reverse Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan that benefits over 400,000 Arizonans who now have access to medical care. They are represented by the “Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute.

It does not appear that things went well for our lawless Tea-Publican legislators. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Court of Appeals hears challenge to Medicaid expansion affecting hundreds of thousands:

With former Gov. Jan Brewer watching over the defense of her legacy, a panel of appeals court judges grilled a lawyer who argued the Medicaid expansion Brewer shepherded into law is unconstitutional.

The Goldwater Institute, a non-profit that advocates for conservative and libertarian causes in the courtroom and Legislature, is challenging the expansion, arguing that a levy imposed on hospitals is a tax increase and required two-thirds approval of the Legislature, which it did not receive.

At stake is Medicaid coverage for up to 400,000 childless adults in Arizona.

Brewer, a GOP governor who pushed the legislation through against the opposition of the majority of Republican lawmakers, attended the oral arguments.

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AZ Court of Appeals to hear Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion appeal on Arizona statehood day

The long-delayed lawsuit by our Tea-Publican legislators and the Goldwater Instititute against Governor Jan Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan, Biggs, et al v. Brewer, et al. (CV2013-011699 Maricopa County Superior Court). Biggs v. Betlach (1 CA-CV 15-0743), is scheduled for  oral argument today before the Court of Appeals Division One in Department A in Courtroom 1 at 9:30 a.m.

Cartoon_08I have previously explained that this case is ostensibly about the Obamacare medicaid expansion plan, but is really about preserving the GOP’s weapon of mass destruction, Prop. 108 (1992), the “Two-Thirds for Taxes” Amendment. AZ Court of Appeals revives GOP legislators’ challenge to Gov. Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion; Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion case set for hearing on July 30, 2015.

The Maricopa County Superior Court rejected the arguments of Tea-Publican legislators and the Goldwater Institute in August of last year. Superior Court judge upholds Brewer’s Medicaid expansion:

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge upheld former Gov. Jan Brewer’s 2013 Medicaid expansion plan, ruling that a hospital assessment that funds the program is not subject to a provision in the Arizona Constitution that requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature for a tax increase.

Judge Douglas Gerlach ruled that HB2010 did not violate the supermajority provision, which voters approved in 1992 as Proposition 108, because it is not a tax and falls under an exemption to the two-thirds vote requirement.

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Repeal of ‘Obamacare’ would cause job losses and a ‘$5 billion hole’ in the Arizona economy

Whenever you talk about healthcare in the United States, keep in mind that it currently makes up 17 percent of the nation’s GDP, and represents the fastest growing sector of the economy. Healthcare to Become the Largest Employment Sector of the U.S. Economy: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare jobs and industries are “expected to have the fastest employment growth and to add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024.”

An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 6.3 million of the 11.5 million Americans who used the ACA marketplace to buy their insurance last year live in Republican Congressional districts.

Policy analysts say that a rollback of the ACA would hurt older and rural Americans — the two populations that favored Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. Trump Voters Stand to Suffer Most From Obamacare Repeal:

Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters are likely to be hit the hardest if he makes good on his promise to dismantle the Affordable Care Act[.]

“I think you’re going to get a disproportionate impact on people who supported Donald Trump but maybe don’t realize that his policies may end up hurting them instead of helping them,” said Michael O. Moore, a professor of economics and international affairs at George Washington University.

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GOP has no ‘Obamacare’ replacement plan as repeal falters

Remember when GOP congressional leaders said they would repeal the Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare” by January 27th? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Republicans miss own deadline to begin repeal of Obamacare. They later asserted the deadline was just a “placeholder” on the calendar.

Tea-Publicans blamed our Dear Leader Donald Trump, in part, because he told the Washington Post in an interview in mid-January before his inauguration that he was nearing completion of a plan to replace President Obama’s signature health-care law with the goal of “insurance for everybody.” (Trump declined to reveal specifics in the telephone interview with the Washington Post).

Like everything else this egomaniacal Twitter troll says, it was a lie. He had no plan, he never did.

This week, Trump Says Health Law Replacement May Not Be Ready Until Next Year:

President Trump said in an interview that aired on Sunday that a replacement health care law was not likely to be ready until either the end of this year or in 2018, a major shift from promises by both him and Republican leaders to repeal and replace the law as soon as possible.

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15,000 Join Women’s March in Tucson (video)

Women's March, Tucson

Women’s March, Tucson

One day after Donald Trump became president of the United States the world saw the largest mass protest ever.

On January 21, 2017, the Women’s March on Washington drew more participants than Trump’s inauguration the day before, and “sister marches” were held in 600 locations around the world. If you are a long-time follower of my blogging, you know that I have attended and videotaped many protests, marches and rallies. This was by far the largest protest march I have seen in my 35 years in Tucson. It was impressive.

The Tucson marchers were a diverse group. Although the event was dubbed the Women’s March, everyone was invited, and everyone came. From children to seniors, all ages were represented. There was an impressive number of men who marched, and the LGBTQ, Latino,  and African American communities were also well-represented. There were people in strollers and people who use wheelchairs. For more photos, go to my Facebook page.  (Video after the jump.)

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Governor Ducey’s budget is ‘based on unicorns and rainbows’ (alternative facts)

I am glad to see that Democrats in the Arizona legislature are using the terminology that I have used to describe Governor Ducey’s budget: ‘Unicorns and rainbows’ – Dems question governor’s budget plan:

[A]fter the Governor’s Office presented details of Ducey’s budget proposals in full before the Joint Appropriations Committee meeting on January 17, Democrats’ hopes were largely deflated.

“It was full of great ideas but there was no funding to back it up,” Rios said after the meeting. “I’m really surprised the governor would put that out there and not assume that people would continue to watch when he actually let us know what he was going to fund.”

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Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Steve Farley was one of the most skeptical voices on the left following Ducey’s State of the State address – perhaps because he already announced he is seriously considering challenging Ducey during the governor’s expected 2018 re-election bid.

Now, like many Democrats, Farley is skeptical that Ducey can even deliver on his proposed budget.

Farley noted that although the governor’s budget team, the Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, has projected almost $17 million more in revenues than expenses, the Legislature’s budget crew, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, has warned that’s probably a rosey estimate.

The revenue projections in the governor’s plan are based on unicorns and rainbows, not on reality,” Farley said.

In fact, Legislative budget analysts cautioned lawmakers that the governor’s projection of available revenues is far rosier than their own. JLBC chief cautions lawmakers on governor’s spending plans:

Richard Stavneak, director of JLBC, pulled no punches in a joint hearing of the House and Senate Appropriations committees, telling lawmakers that he’s concerned by the governor’s proposing of myriad new spending plans without accounting for many legislative priorities or the possibility of an economic downturn.

“We may not have as much money as the governor thinks we have to spend,” Sen. Debbie Lesko, Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman, told lawmakers at the hearing on January 17.

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