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Yellow Sheet Report

Friday, April 19, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rhette Baughman
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Article Posted: 04.15.2013 | 4:33 pm 4:33 pm Mon, April 15, 2013

The Mohave County GOP officially declared its opposition to Brewer’s Medicaid expansion on Saturday, and Gould told our reporter today the resolution is a warning to legislators representing his county not to support the governor’s proposal. If they do, they will face primary opponents and will give their challenger a lot of ammo to take them down, the Mohave GOP chairman said, adding that, in his heavily-Republican county, the general election is merely a formality. The warning applies to Ward, Gould said, though he added that he would be surprised if she changed her mind since her campaign was built on opposing Obamacare. (Ward has repeatedly said although she’s open to discussions with Brewer, her mind is set against the expansion.) Gould said Borrelli and Goodale are going to get challenged anyway just because House primaries are the norm in Mohave County, but if they support Brewer’s plan, "they’re going to give their opponents some pretty good material to work with.” Gould said roughly 100 PCs voted yes on the resolution. He heard two no votes.


Article Posted: 04.15.2013 | 4:32 pm 4:32 pm Mon, April 15, 2013

Gould also offered a tip to legislators who are mulling the pros and cons of Brewer’s Medicaid expansion on how to resist the pressure to vote yes: Don’t get too attached to bills. Gould likened deep attachment to legislation to Lord of the Rings character Gollum’s compulsion to own the ring. The former senator surmised that Brewer will start vetoing bills to get what she wants, and legislators must be prepared to accept their proposal’s fate in order to resist the urge to capitulate and vote "yes” on the expansion. "Smeagol, the fallen hobbit that worships the ring – that’s what happens with legislators and their bills. The bill becomes ‘the Precious,’ and if you speak against the precious, they take it personally,” Gould said. "They ought to put the ring back in their pocket, because Frodo only gets enticed by the ring when he stares at the ring. So, quit staring at the ring.”

Article Posted: 04.15.2013 | 4:32 pm 4:32 pm Mon, April 15, 2013

The Republic today gave a full-throated endorsement of Brewer’s Medicaid expansion plan, arguing that Republicans should trust their leader. "Conservatives who reject Brewer’s proposal should consider the business community’s strong support for this plan. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce is not a branch of the Jane Fonda fan club,” the editorial reads. The Republic went on to cite familiar arguments for expansion: Brewer’s plan will help address the costs of uncompensated care; it will continue health coverage for tens of thousands of people who would otherwise be cut off from AHCCCS in January; it makes mathematical sense since the feds will pay for the bulk of the expansion, with the rest of the money paid for via a hospital assessment, which cannot be passed on to patients; and, finally, it is the right thing to do. "People suffer needlessly when they lack access to timely medical care. Minor problems become major illnesses. Chronic conditions become catastrophic emergencies. People with mental illnesses who are not treated can become a danger to themselves or others,” the editorial concludes. "Whether you consider this from a human perspective or take a hard-headed economic view, the governor’s proposed Medicaid expansion is worth the political heartburn.”


Article Posted: 04.15.2013 | 4:32 pm 4:32 pm Mon, April 15, 2013

The current debate on Medicaid expansion focuses on the political repercussions for Republicans who support Brewer’s plan, the fiscal impact to Arizona’s coffers, the national deficit and the pro-life arguments for or against it. But what’s not getting as much attention is the potential stimulus effects of drawing down $1.6 billion in federal funds annually at little or no cost to the general fund, an argument that UofA economist Marshall Vest tried to impress on members of the Finance Advisory Committee last week. In fact, both the centrist Grand Canyon Institute and ASU have concluded that the expansion would add more jobs and grow the economy. The Grand Canyon Institute study, which was released last September, said that covering residents who earn up to 133 percent of the poverty level would add 21,000 jobs, reduce unemployment by 0.7 percent and grow Arizona’s economy by nearly 1 percent in 2015, the first full year of implementation. The more recent ASU study reaffirmed the major outlines of the GCI report: full expansion would add 15,000 jobs by 2016, inject $2.8 billion in the Gross State Product between FY14 and FY16 and add $1.6 billion in disposable personal income in the same period. Additionally, the ASU study also suggested a positive impact on the state’s finances, increasing sales taxes by $40 million and individual income taxes by $31 million from FY14 to FY16.

Article Posted: 04.15.2013 | 4:31 pm 4:31 pm Mon, April 15, 2013

Studies in other states have reached similar conclusions. A study commissioned by the Colorado Health Foundation showed that, in FY25-FY26, fully expanding that state’s Medicaid would mean adding 0.74 percent to the state GDP, injecting $4.4 billion in economic activity and increasing average household earnings by $608 (LINK). Additionally, the expansion would add roughly 22,400 jobs, of which 14,357 would be created in the first 18 months of implementation. Similar to the estimates in Arizona, full expansion would also cost Colorado’s state coffers less and it would generate more tax revenues without increasing the tax rates, the study suggested. In Missouri the expansion is projected to create 24,000 jobs by 2014 and add $9.6 billion in gross state product between 2014 and 2020 ( Even more interesting, a RAND Health study, commissioned by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, suggests that Arkansas could see as many as 1,100 fewer deaths per year with the expansion. In 2016, the Affordable Care Act will bring roughly $430 million to the state, create about 2,600 jobs and decrease uncompensated care costs by $67 million, the study estimated. "If the state does not expand Medicaid, the direct net loss in payments would be $670 million dollars for the state in the out years. Thus, while the expansion of Medicaid is not without costs in later years, there is a net positive impact for the state’s economy,” the study said.


Source: Yellow Sheet Report
Items copyright 2013 Arizona News Service/Yellow Sheet Report.  Used with permission.

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