The Empire Strikes Back: Goldwater Institute sues to block Gov. Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) restoration plan

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

DeathStarThe "Kochtopus" Evil Empire, anchored in the state of Maricopa by its "death star," the Goldwater Institute, will sue to block Governor Jan Brewer's Medicaid (AHCCCS) restoration plan so that Tea-Publican legislators can deny hundreds of thousands of Arizonans medical care, and send some of them to their certain deaths. Their über-rich patrons seek to destroy the Republic for the "Kochtopus" Evil Empire. Goldwater to sue over Medicaid law:

The Goldwater Institute says it will file suit today to overturn
Arizona’s new law expanding Medicaid eligibility, a day after efforts
failed to refer the matter to voters.

The lawsuit against Gov. Jan Brewer and the state’s Medicaid
director, to be filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on behalf of
lawmakers who voted against expansion, argues that the governor and a
bipartisan legislative coalition violated the state Constitution by
imposing a tax on hospitals without garnering a two-thirds majority.

It also claims pro-expansion lawmakers ceded their authority to the
executive branch, allowing a state agency director to raise taxes on
hospitals to help finance Medicaid expansion in violation of the
Constitution’s separation of powers.

Under the new Medicaid law, eligibility in the government-run
health-insurance program for the poor is broadened to people who have
income below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $15,300 for a
single person.

The federal government will cover most of the cost under the
Affordable Care Act, but the state’s share of Medicaid expansion is to
be paid through fees levied on Arizona hospitals, which will bring
additional federal funding. Nearly all hospitals are expected to collect
more caring for Medicaid patients than they contribute in assessments.

The law gives the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the
state’s Medicaid agency, authority to “establish, administer and
collect” the hospital assessment, which will raise an estimated $256
million in fiscal 2015, leaving about $100 million left over for the
general fund.

Brewer’s administration, and lawmakers who supported expansion, argue
that because AHCCCS is imposing the assessment, not the Legislature,
the supermajority requirement under 1992’s Proposition 108 doesn’t
apply.

In fact, the Legislature has voted dozens of times to give state
agencies fee-raising authority, most recently to help them offset budget
cuts.

“Agencies have routinely been given fee authority, over 80 times in
the past five years,” Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said. “We don’t
believe this is subject to Proposition 108.”

* * *

The case will likely hinge on an exemption in Prop. 108, which says a
two-thirds majority vote is not required for “fees and assessments that
are authorized by statute, but are not prescribed by formula, amount or
limit, and are set by a state officer or agency.”

Constitutional scholar Paul Bender, a professor and former dean at
Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, said that
exemption appears to allow AHCCCS Director Tom Betlach and his
successors to set and impose the hospital assessments.

He said he doesn’t know of any previous challenges to that provision.

“It’s completely up to the state office or agency — the executive
branch — how much to charge. The Legislature can authorize that on a
simple majority vote,” Bender said.

“If the Legislature sets it, they need a two-thirds vote. If they let somebody else set it, they don’t.”

Bender said federal courts have applied the separation-of-powers
doctrine liberally, allowing Congress to delegate authority to the
executive branch as long as the law includes “reasonable guidance.”

ProtontorpedoThe Rebel Alliance that came together to fight for passage of Governor Jan Brewer's Medicaid (AHCCCS) restoration plan needs to stand together to defeat the "Kochtopus" death star, the Goldwater Institute. We need some Jedi warriors (deep-pocket plaintiffs and public interest groups) who are willing to challenge the Goldwater Institute's 501(c)(3) tax status before the IRS and in the courts. The 501(c)(3) tax status that the Goldwater Institute has been abusing for years is the most vulnerable weakness of the death star — fire a proton torpedo (lawsuit) at that thermal exhaust port and it will cause a chain reaction which can destroy the death star.

We also need legislators who will demand that Arizona's weak lobbyist laws be stengthened to force the death star to register its stormtroopers as lobbyists and to file detailed lobbyist disclosure statements.

We also need legislators who will demand that "dark money" political organizations disclose their contributors and amounts contributed. There is no legitimate justification for this system of anonymity for über-rich plutocrats but transparency for everyone else to exist. Force these evil bastards hiding in the darkness into the bright light of day.

And maybe then the Rebel Alliance can finally destroy the death star that has been oppressing the citizens of Arizona for 25 years.

UPDATE: Rick Hasen has the abstract of the New CRS Report: “501(c)(3)s and Campaign Activity: Analysis Under Tax and Campaign Finance Laws”.

One response to “The Empire Strikes Back: Goldwater Institute sues to block Gov. Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) restoration plan

  1. Here’s a slightly different take on the GI and their connections to the Evil Koch empire: http://www.cactuscaucus.com