Legislative Update: 2 April 2013
Dear Arizona Taxpayer,
The biggest fight of the year at the Arizona Legislature continues to be the battle over the proposed expansion of Medicaid/AHCCCS under ObamaCare. This afternoon (Tuesday, April 2, at 4 pm), a coalition of doctors and other health care professionals (please join us, if you’re in the industry!) will gather at the Arizona State Capitol to voice opposition to the effort by Gov. Jan Brewer and the hospital lobby to expand Medicaid. Among the organizations represented will be the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and Docs for Patient Care.
Many doctors and nurses are rightly concerned that the expansion of Medicaid will further ObamaCare’s destruction of the doctor-patient relationship. Medical professionals are also concerned about pushing another quarter million to a half million vulnerable Arizonans into a system that treats them like second-class medical citizens — a system in which they will face longer and longer waiting times for life-saving and life-improving health care services. Read more about the press conference HERE. And you can view AFP-Arizona director Tom Jenney’s House Appropriations testimony against the Medicaid expansion HERE.
Health care freedom price transparency bill likely to pass House!
SB 1115, the health care freedom bill that ensures price transparency, passed the House Health Committee and is now on to full House of Representatives. This bill, which has received bipartisan support, would mandate that health care providers provide cash prices (imagine that!) to their customers. By doing so, the bill would introduce greater price competition to health care in Arizona, and help to prevent fraud and over-billing. Price transparency is essential to our health care freedom because it lets the market guide consumers toward optimal health care choices. By putting downward pressure on prices, the reform would help local businesses that are self-insured or that depend on high-deductible medical insurance plans. AFP-Arizona will send out an action alert as it goes to the desk of Governor Jan Brewer — this is a chance for Gov. Brewer to demonstrate that she supports free-market reforms in health care. Thanks to Senator Nancy Barto for introducing the bill, and thanks to activist Kevin Herring for beating the drum on this important reform!
Pension reform efforts threatened by princes in black robes
Arizona’s government employee pension system is insolvent, with liabilities projected to take up to 20 percent of the state’s future general fund budgets every year. The good news is that House Speaker Andy Tobin (R-Yavapai County) and Representative Phil Lovas (R-Surprise/NW Valley) have done Arizona a great service by introducing HB 2608, which would create a pilot program to reform Arizona’s Elected Officials Retirement Plan (EORP). Unfortunately, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, the reform faces hurdles in the Arizona Senate, where Arizona judges are lobbying to be exempted from the reform — even though their pensions are among the most insolvent of any in the state…
Union release time bill comes back to life… MAYBE!
Thanks to the four members of the Senate Government Committee who voted to revive Rep. Warren Petersen‘s union release time bill, by striking it onto Rep. Michelle Ugenti‘s HB 2647! As you know, bills that would curtail abuses by government employee unions have failed in the Senate and have been sandbagged in the House Rules Committee. Thanks to activist Marcus Huey for the tip! Instructions for TAKING ACTION are available at this Arizona Freedom Alliance action page.
For Liberty, Tom
Americans for Prosperity