To all Arizona Taxpayers and Health Care Consumers–
Please read AFP-Arizona’s line-by-line refutation of Governor Jan Brewer’s comments in her State of the State address on Monday, in which she announced that she would push for Arizona to expand Medicaid (AHCCCS) under ObamaCare. And please send a quick email note to Gov. Brewer, asking to reconsider her support for the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. Finally, please put our February 21 debate on the Medicaid expansion (more info below) on your calendar.
The most important issue in the Medicaid expansion is the HUMAN COST. If Arizona were to expand Medicaid, it would railroad hundreds of thousands of Arizonans into a low-quality, government-managed health insurance system with limited medical options.
As the Manhattan Institute’s Avik Roy explains, “Studies consistently show that patients on Medicaid have the worst health outcomes of any group in America—far worse than those with private insurance and, in some cases, worse than those with no insurance at all.” Please read more about this crucial point in our line-by-line refutation of Gov. Brewer’s comments.
In her speech, Gov. Brewer described her effort as “agreeing to expand our Medicaid program just slightly.” With all due respect, expanding AHCCCS (already the biggest program in the overall state budget) from 100 percent to 138 percent of the federal poverty level is NOT “just slightly.” Full participation in the Medicaid expansion would add 250,000 Arizonans to Medicaid/AHCCCS. A left-liberal think tank estimates the full costs to Arizona over the next decade as ranging from $467 million to $3.1 billion. And things will get worse after that: as federal Medicaid goes deeper into bankruptcy, the federal government will reduce its support, leaving Arizona patients on the hook to pay ever-increasing hospital bed taxes.
Gov. Brewer’s advisers have supplied her with a lot of bad arguments in favor of the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion, including recycled left-wing arguments about the costs of uncompensated care resulting in a “hidden health care tax.” Her speech also argues that taking billions of dollars from federal taxpayers (many of whom are in Arizona) or borrowing billions from future taxpayers (again, many of them in Arizona) and dumping that money into Arizona’s hospital industry will “save or create” jobs. That’s like taking a bucket of water from the deep end of a swimming pool, dumping it in the shallow end, and expecting the water level in the pool to rise.
To flesh out the issues involved in the proposed ObamaCare Medicaid expansion, AFP-Arizona will host a lunchtime debate from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on February 21 at the Goldwater Institute. At the event, Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute and local physician and health policy expert Jeff Singer will take on any three pro-expansion advocates who want to debate these issues publicly. We are extending the invitation to debate to AHCCCS director Tom Betlach, the hospital and insurance lobbies, the Brewer Administration, and any civic organization that supports the expansion.
All concerned citizens who wish to attend the debate should RSVP to Shane Wikfors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send a quick email note to Gov. Brewer, asking to re-think her support for the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. And thank you for defending health care freedom in Arizona!
For Liberty, Tom