Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Birthers-Birchers-Secessionists of the Tea Party, i.e., the GOP insane clown posse, held a rally yesterday in opposition to Governor Jan Brewer's Medicaid (AHCCCS) restoration plan. "Fringe" describes the unhinged from reality circus clowns who came up with this "genius" (sic) plan. AHCCCS might drop coverage for childless adults:
Thousands of Arizonans receiving health care through Medicaid could be thrown out of that program under one alternative offered by opponents of the governor's plan to expand coverage.
Senate President Andy Biggs, who joined a rally of Medicaid-expansion critics, vowed to do all he can to prevent a vote on Gov. Jan Brewer's proposal to expand coverage to those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, with the state share of the increased cost coming from a special assessment on hospitals.
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Other speakers outlined their objections.
"We have a choice: More socialism and bigger government or more freedom and fiscal stability," said Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, one of the leaders of an ant-expansion rally on the Capitol lawn.
Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, called the care provided under Medicaid "substandard," and said entitlement programs like this "disincentivize the poor from improving themselves."
Rep. Justin Olson, R-Mesa, said an expanded Medicaid program means more tax dollars for family-planning services would be paid to Planned Parenthood, which has "this mission of terminating life before it's even born."
"I'm not going to allow late introduction of a bill," Biggs said, pointing out the deadline for that was months ago. And even if what the governor wants does end up at the Senate, whether from a House bill or an amendment to something else, "I never made a commitment I'd put it on the floor" for a vote.
So let's review. We have wingnut Senate president Andy Biggs who apparently suffers from the tendency of conservatives to be authoritarians, and imagines himself to be the tinhorn dictator of Arizona by fiat of the privileges of his office. "Tinhorn" was elected Senate president by his caucus, in a divided vote, not the voters of Arizona. Someone has grandiose delusions about his importance.
Then there is Rep. Petersen, who suffers from Tea Party Tourette syndrome, uncontrollably shouting "socialism!" and "freedom!" at any Tea Party rally. He is not troubled by a thought in his empty head.
Then there is Kelli Ward who, unbelievably is a practicing osteopath who does not take her Hippocratic Oath seriously. What kind of doctor would propose throwing disabled individuals off of AHCCCS — because that is who these childless adults are that we are talking about — and then spit upon them with a sneer, dismissing them as lazy slackers who should "improve themselves"? (Hint: One who credits Rush Limbaugh with her political views on her Senate member page). Apparently they do not teach compassion and empathy at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Finally, there is Rep. Olson, the one trick pony anti-abortion extremist darling of the Center for Arizona Policy, which sees abortion lurking behind every bill, even though state and federal law have always prohibited funds being spent on abortion.
So what do these Tea Party tools propose as an alternative plan?
One of the options presented is to simply no longer provide coverage to childless adults, forcing out an estimated 63,000 recipients who were in the system when enrollment was frozen in 2010, and closing the door on more than 100,000 other childless adults who could become eligible under an expansion.
Ah yes, the GOP's Ebeneezer Scrooge medical plan: "If they'd rather die, then perhaps they had better do so and decrease the surplus population." And all the while driving up the cost of charity care at hospitals, putting those hospitals on the verge of bankruptcy and jeopardizing everyone else's access to healthcare. They're effin' "geniuses."
Brewer, in a letter to legislative leaders, called that option "morally repugnant and fiscally irresponsible."
Damn straight! This option also ignores the will of the Arizona voters who enacted the Prop. 204 Healthy Arizona initiative in 2000 requiring the state to provide free care for everyone below the federal poverty level, including childless adults.
Biggs said there is another option: Have the state alone provide care for all childless adults.
"We have enough money in our 'rainy day' fund," Biggs said, at least for the foreseeable future.
This is is pure B.S. The temporary one-cent sales tax increase is set to expire on July 1, and the package of corporate welfare tax cuts that the legislature approved over the past few years will start to phase in beginning in FY 2014. Whatever temporary revenue increase the state has experienced in the past year is about to be offset by the structural revenue deficit built in by the Arizona legislature so they can use the revenue shortfall as a ready excuse to cut more funding from programs.
UPDATE: The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) adds, Expansion foes urge state-only program for childless adults:
Expansion opponents such as Rep. Warren Petersen, who organized the rally, didn’t have any figures on what the state-only plan would cost. Petersen, R-Gilbert, said he was confident that the proposal would “absolutely” cost less than the state’s share of Brewer’s expansion proposal.
However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. According to estimates from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the state-only coverage for childless adults would cost about $807 million for the first three years of the program. The Governor’s Office estimates that it would cost about $862 million.
By contrast, the state’s share of Brewer’s Medicaid expansion proposal would cost about $286 million in the first three years while covering hundreds of thousands more people. Under Brewer’s plan, the state’s share would be paid through a provider tax on hospitals.
Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson rejected the state-only idea outright, saying it was not a viable alternative to the governor’s plan.
“That’s more than double our rainy day fund. So it would drain our rainy day fund in short order and it would quickly begin dipping into every other key service area for the state. It would compete with education, public safety, health and human services. You name it. It would crowd out other services,” Benson said.
Petersen did not immediately comment on the cost disparity.
Like I said, he is not troubled by a thought in his empty head.
Arizonans have got to stop electing reckless and irresponsible individuals who are marginally insane to office. This is no way to run a business, or a government.