Tag Archives: Medicaid expansion

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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GOP Obamacare repeal will unleash a health-care calamity on the nation

ObamacareSenate Democrats asked the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to prepare a report on what would happen if the Republican Affordable Care Act aka “ObamaCare” repeal bill was passed and implemented.

I know you are saying to yourself, “wait, the GOP doesn’t have any ACA replacement plan to score,” but the budget office relied on a 2015 bill that the House GOP actually did pass which is still the basis of repeal efforts.

The result would be to unleash a health-care calamity on the nation. 18 million would lose insurance in first year of Obamacare repeal without replacement, CBO report says:

At least 18 million people would lose health insurance in the first year if Republicans move ahead with plans to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan, estimates a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The number of people without insurance would grow to about 32 million within the first decade if congressional Republicans follow a 2015 plan to repeal the health-care law without an alternative, the new report says. It also estimates that health insurance premiums for people buying individual non-group coverage would double within a decade, further complicating GOP promises that people will not lose coverage under their plan.

The report was an update of a previous analysis of the 2015 repeal legislation.

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Tea-Publicans vote to take away Americans health care and to defund Planned Parenthood; government shutdown looms

kabukiWith the wall-to-wall media coverage of shootings in America this past week, you may have missed that the Senate used the budget reconciliation process to pass a partial “ObamaCare” repeal and to defund Planned Parenthood. This is part of the Kabuki theater that GOP Congressional leaders must engage in to appease the radical extremists who want to shut down the federal government to take the country hostage and to extort ransom from the Democrats and President Obama — “give us everything we want or we will kill the hostage.”

A government shutdown remains not only possible but likely this Friday, December 11, if the GOP Congressional leadership loses control of their Kabuki theater strategy.

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Superior Court Judge upholds Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan

We-Love-ObamacareIn a bit of a surprise today, Maricopa County Superior Judge Douglas Gerlach ruled in favor of Governor Jan Brewer’s  Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan, and the bipartisan coalition of Democrats and a handful of Republicans who came together to pass the legislation by a simple majority.

As I have previously warned you, this case is no longer about Governor Jan Brewer’s  Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan per se, it is about the “Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, trying to preserve the GOP’s “weapon of mass destruction,” Prop. 108 (1992), the “two-thirds for taxes” amendment. The Goldwater Institute, representing the 36 Tea-Publican legislators/plaintiffs in this case, will appeal. This case is far from over.

The Arizona Republic reports, Judge: Medicaid expansion was constitutional:

The Arizona Legislature needed only a simple-majority vote to expand the state’s Medicaid program in 2013, a Superior Court judged ruled on Wednesday.

The case hinges on whether a hospital assessment lawmakers approved to fund the expansion, which extended health-care coverage to more than 250,000 low-income Arizonans, is a fee, as its proponents argued, or a tax.

Judge Douglas Gerlach, in his ruling, said the fee “does not qualify as a tax,” as the 36 Republican legislators who opposed it have argued. As a result, there was no need for a two-thirds super-majority to enact the legislation.

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AZ Star Perpetuates ‘Ethan Orr Is a Moderate’ Myth

by Pamela Powers Hannley

In today's Arizona Daily Star, columnist Tim Steller chides the Pima County Democratic Party for trying to take down "moderate" Republican LD9 Legislator Ethan Orr. 

First of all, a quick look at Orr's voting record and political endorsements reveal that the "Ethan Orr is a moderate" meme is a myth. For example:

Orr voted FOR voter suppression on multiple occasions. Most recently, Orr cast the deciding vote in committee and sided Republicans who want to do an "end run" around voters by repealing last year's Omnibus Voter Suppression Bill (HB2305), in order to pass several other voter suppression bills this session. The bill to repeal HB2305– if passed by the Legislature– will eliminate the citizens' right to vote for or against voter suppression in the 2014 election. Orr voted for voter suppression last week,  and he was part of the Republican block that originally passed HB2305 in the dead of night in the waning hours of the 2013 Legislative session.

Orr signed an anti-abortion pledge to defend the rights of the unborn. Orr– along with Governor Jan Brewer, Republican legislators, and three weak-kneed Democrats– signed the Christian conservative Center for Arizona Policy's pledge to fight for the rights of unborn fetuses, while ignoring the legal rights of adult women to make choices about their bodies, their children, and their lives. Steller soft-sells Orr's pro-fetus stance by saying that Orr "tends toward a pro-life viewpoint on abortion." Orr signed a pledge to fight for fetal personhood; this is an extreme viewpoint that confers rights upon fetuses– while taking away the rights of American women. This goes far beyond tending "toward pro-life". [Pledge text and more after the jump.]

Here is an excerpt from the pledge that Orr and other Arizona lawmakers signed:

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives and Senate of the State of Arizona:

That the Members of the House of Representatives and Senate shall make every effort to secure for preborn children [AKA fetuses] at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to persons, citizens, and residents of this State, until the decisional interpretations of the United States Constitution by the United States Supreme Court provide protection for every human being.

Right wing money and conservative think tanks back Orr. A quick look at Project Vote Smart's page on Orr lists his endorsements and votes. The National Rifle Institute (NRA) endorsed Orr and gave him a 92% approval rating. (His multiple pro-gun votes in 2013 show that he repaid the NRA for their kindness. During the 2014 session, Orr originally leaned toward backing a child protection gun safety bill promoted by pediatricians but has since decided to stick with the NRA on that one.) Orr is also backed by the Goldwater Institute (Arizona's own pro-business, small-guv'mint, pro-privatization, right-wing-model-law generating "think tank" — our own mini-ALEC) and the Chamber of Commerce. 

If Orr is a right-winger, why did he vote to expand Medicaid? Because Medicaid expansion is business friendly and financially responsible.

Orr's pro-Medicaid expansion vote in 2013 is the primary evidence cited to back up the claim that Orr is a moderate. Yes, voting for Medicaid expansion was a good thing, but Orr's Medicaid vote can easily be explained by his Chamber of Commerce endorsement and his close ties to high-profile Tucson businessman Jim Click.

Governor Jan Brewer backed Medicaid expansion because it will bring millions of dollars in federal subsidies into the state's coffers; Click and the Chamber backed it for the same reason. (They are businessmen, after all.) In multiple articles (123) on the Jim Click Business Preferred Network website, Medicaid expansion is championed. As Steller writes, the "corporate wing of the Republican Party" (people like Click) may represent Orr's strongest backers.