Category Archives: Healthcare

A Better Future for Phoenix Drives Daniel Valenzuela in Run for Mayor

Phoenix Councilmember and Mayoral Candidate Daniel Valenzuela

In the runoff race to become the next Mayor of Phoenix, former Councilman Daniel Valenzuela has brought on former McCain campaign advisors in an attempt to draw Republican support to make up the 19 point deficit in his second-place finish to former Councilwoman Kate Gallego last November.

Goals and vision for Phoenix

As a council member and potential mayor, Valenzuela sees Phoenix as a great city that he wants to help make greater and more safe, inclusive, and prosperous for the children and next generations to follow. His immediate goals if elected mayor would be expanding educational opportunities, promoting equality and economic progress, and ensuring safe communities and neighborhoods. To accomplish these goals, Councilman Valenzuela would address the public policy arenas described later in the piece.

With popular Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton resigning his office and now serving Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District, a special non-partisan election was held in November to elect his successor. In a four-way race, Gallego received 45 percent of the vote and had a 19-point lead over her closest contender, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela.

The Blog For Arizona profiled both candidates in June and interviewed both on their positions on the issues and their vision for moving Phoenix forward. This piece describes Councilmember Valenzuela’s goals and vision for the fifth largest city in the country.

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NEW: Arizona Gets Federal Go-Ahead To Impose Work (etc.) Requirements To Receive AHCCCS Benefits, Starting In 2020

AHCCCS (aka Arizona’s Medicaid program) today received approval from the federal government to begin adding work requirements in 2020 to able-bodied individuals who receive the health insurance benefits. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). In 2016, under the previous Administration, CMS had rejected a similar Arizona request. “However, given the potential benefits of work and other forms of community engagement, we now believe that state Medicaid programs should be able to design and test incentives for beneficiary compliance with community engagement requirements.”

Governor Doug Ducey celebrated the approval: “This approval from CMS will allow Arizona to implement a community engagement requirement for able-bodied adults on AHCCCS, much like the work requirements that already exist in other state benefit programs. Employment and community engagement are proven to have a positive effect on overall health and well-being. By aligning educational and employment incentives, and providing robust job search support services and educational opportunities, Arizona can create pathways toward better health outcomes and employment opportunities for our citizens.”

Arizona Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-CD1) was quick to blast the approval, stating: “This decision by CMS will leave thousands of Arizonans facing unnecessary red tape to access affordable health care they are entitled to by law. It will cost Arizona taxpayers millions of dollars to implement, and will result in more uncompensated care in our hospitals. As we are seeing in Arkansas, which implemented similar requirements, hardworking families including veterans will lose their benefits and costs will skyrocket. This is a devastating decision for rural communities, and as a Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I will fight it.”

CMS did reject Arizona’s proposal that able-bodied individuals between the ages Continue reading

As Mayor, Kate Gallego will Make “Make Phoenix a City that Will Work for Everyone”

Phoenix Mayoral Candidate Councilwoman Kate Gallego

In a runoff race for Phoenix Mayor, candidate Kate Gallego, a former Phoenix Councilwoman, appears to be leading her opponent Daniel Valenzuela, another former member of the Phoenix City Council.

With popular Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton resigning his office and now serving Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District, a special non-partisan election was held in November to elect his successor. In a four-way race, Gallego received 45 percent of the vote and had a 19-point lead over her closest contender, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela. Commentators at the Arizona Republic feel that Councilwoman Gallego, with her energized and devoted base, has the turnout advantage right now going into the March 12, 2019 election.

The Blog For Arizona profiled both candidates in June and interviewed both on their positions in and their vision for moving Phoenix forward. Over the last week, we contacted both campaigns for an update.  This piece describes Councilwoman’s  Gallego’s goals and vision for the fifth largest city in the country.

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New Progressive Enthusiasm and Energy at Arizona’s State Capital

Democratic Lawmakers rally at the Capital Rose Garden on the first day of the Legislative Session. Photo courtesy of Lynsey Robinson, Second Vice Chair of the Maricopa County Democratic Party.

There is a new Progressive Enthusiasm and Energy at Arizona’s State Capital

It can be seen in the hallways where people crowded the Democratic offices of the House joyfully discussing the legislative prospects for 2019.

It could be seen with the female Democratic legislators wearing white to honor the suffragette movement of 100 years ago.

It could be seen in the early morning rallies with progressive organizations and legislative leaders passionately expressing hope for their ideas and proposals for the New Year.

It could be seen on the House Floor where the parties are at their closest margins since 1966 and some state offices (Education and Secretary of State) were held once again by Democrats.

Democrats, encouraged by the 2018 elections, are ready to shape the legislative agenda and propel the state in a forward direction. Thanks to the gracious invitation of Legislative District 18 (where the author is also a PC) State Representative Mitzi Epstein, this writer was able to witness the events of the day including Governor Ducey’s State of the State Address.

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The GOP has weaponized the courts in undermining our democratic institutions

20 GOP attorneys general hand-picked a conservative activist judge known for his political activism from the bench to conspire to overturn the Affordable Care Act. One can fairly say that the process was “rigged” to produce the desired result. Judge Reed O’Connor should be impeached, and the 20 GOP attorneys general held to account for their unethical professional misconduct.

The New York Times reports, In Weaponized Courts, Judge Who Halted Affordable Care Act Is a Conservative Favorite:

In the 11 years Judge Reed O’Connor has been on the federal bench, he has become a favorite of Republican leaders in Texas, reliably tossing out Democratic policies they have challenged.

The state’s Republican attorney general appears to strategically file key lawsuits in Judge O’Connor’s jurisdiction, the Northern District of Texas, so that he will hear them. And on Friday, the judge handed Republicans another victory by striking down the Affordable Care Act, the signature health law of the Obama era.

Judge O’Connor, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, has been at the center of some of the most contentious and partisan cases involving federal power and states’ rights, and has sided with conservative leaders in previous challenges to the health law and against efforts to expand transgender rights.

No one questions his expertise on the law. But his rulings illustrate the ways in which the federal district courts have become politically weaponized, as Republicans and Democrats alike try to handpick judges they see as ideologically friendly to their cases.

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