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News & Press: Arizona Business News Updates

Update on the Special Session for the Budget and Medicaid Expansion

Thursday, June 13, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rick Murray, CEO
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Medicaid Expansion

Throughout the Medicaid expansion debate, there have been many references to the Governor’s plan being part of the Affordable Care Act. Certainly the enhanced funding was part of the overall legislation, but let’s take a look at some key points that include Arizona voter mandates.

  • Restores coverage of Prop. 204 childless adults (0-100% FPL) as passed by Arizona voters in 2000, impacting estimated 240,000 Arizonans.

  • Covers an additional 57,000 adults from 100-133% FPL so that Arizona can access enhanced federal funds for Prop. 204 coverage.

  • Includes a hospital assessment to pay for the State’s share of the cost of care for the Prop. 204 population.

  • With use of hospital assessment, reduces Medicaid pressure on State budget … making more dollars available for critical services like education and public safety.

  • Features circuit breaker that automatically ends the assessment and Medicaid expansion if federal matching dollars are reduced below an amount established in the legislation.

In the next few days, legislators will debate the budget which will include the Medicaid expansion plan. Governor Brewer called for a special session. Technically, the session must last three days, as the Constitution requires that all non-emergency bills be read on three separate days. However, the natural length of the budget floor action process, combined with the relatively late start to the proceedings, makes it likely that today will be a long one, with the third legislative day beginning shortly after midnight and lasting in to the early morning hours of Thursday.


Immigration Reform

This week, the U.S Senate voted to introduce the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. This is the Gang of 8 bill, authored in part by Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake. This will begin what is expected to be an approximately three week debate on issues including border security, high-skilled worker visas, temporary worker visas and E-Verify.

The National Small Business Association is seeking amendments on the floor of the Senate to improve the bill, specifically,amendments to simplify the W visa program for small employers, and a variety of amendments to improve the E-Verify program. Click here for ASBA’s position statement on Immigration reform.


Liability Study

The Institute for Legal Reform has released a study which shows that liability costs in theU.S. are dramatically higher than other developed countries. U.S. liability costs are 1.66 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), over 2 ½ times higher than the European average and 40 percent higher than Canada, the next highest.This translates into annual costs of approximately $260 billion.

The study considered the costs of claims, whether resolved through litigation or other claims resolution processes. Non-litigation claims resolutions would include, for example, resolutions resulting from arbitrations, the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve claims or payments resulting from pre-litigation negotiated settlements. These high liability costs impede U.S. economic growth, job creation and innovation. They also make U.S. firms less competitive against foreign competitors in both the U.S. market and abroad.

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