Archives for February 2013

2nd Amendment Rally – Phoenix Day of Resistance – February 23rd

Phoenix Day of Resistance

Open Letter to Governor Brewer

February 14, 2013

The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
Arizona Governor
Executive Tower
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona  85007

Dear Governor Brewer:

You have approved the expansion of Medicaid within the State of Arizona.  One of your stated reasons for approving Medicaid expansion was based upon the notion that there would be no cost to the General Fund.

You based your reasoning on the fact that the federal government will match 100% for the first three years (2014-2016) and 90% thereafter.  However, the State will have to pay 10%. This will have to come from the general fund.

Further, federal government spending is unsustainable. The federal government does not have the funding required to match 90% of the cost. What happens when the federal government reduces its share to 50%?  The federal government will not allow Arizona to opt out of the Medicare expansion once it opts in. Your egregious decision places Arizona in financial jeopardy.

Notwithstanding the fact that Medicaid is a broken entitlement program with which most physicians refuse to participate, your endorsement of the expansion is a specific policy endorsement of a draconian health care law. Obamacare needs repeal not endorsement.

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, health care was instantly rationed. One cannot add 46 million people to the health care mix without adding substantial numbers of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses.  It will take decades to produce enough health care personnel to overcome health care rationing. Promoting Medicaid expansion without a proportional increase in all medical personnel just assures that health care will be rationed for Medicaid recipients.

Say “no” to Medicaid expansion.

Richard D. Brinkley

Chair, GOP LD 11

Representative Warren Petersen Needs Your Help on Three Bills

I want to make you aware of 3 bills that I am concerned about.   Your involvement can make a big difference.  There is a great website called lifelibertyfreedom.com that will allow you to email all of the legislators of the House and let them know how you feel.
HB2060 – Censure Bill (link)
This bill will allow school board members to censure each other.  This could be a tool used to ruin the reputation of a conservative or a liberal school board member.  School board members should feel free to speak their mind and their concerns whether or not they are in the minority of the board.  Please email the legislature and tell them to vote NO on HB2060.  It will be voted on in the house tomorrow 2/14/13 at 1:30 pm.
HB2343 – Public Employees, compensation for union activity (link)
This bill prohibits taxpayer dollars to be used for union activity.  If you believe union dues and not taxpayer dollars should fund union activities then please email the legislature and tell them to vote YES on HB2343.  It will be heard in committee on 2/19/13.
HB2456 – Revenue allocation districts (link)
This bill passed out of committee and will soon go to the House floor for a vote.  This would allow town councils to draw boundaries around businesses and form a board that will tax the businesses.  The revenue from the businesses will be used by the board for “economic development”.  This bill is a dream come true for big business and the well connected to create taxing districts and then control the funds.  If you don’t believe in business taxing districts then please email the legislature and tell them to vote NO on HB2456.
Small businesses and individuals have little to no voice at the Capitol.  They can’t afford to hire a lobbyist to protect their interest.  We need your help.  Please pick the issues above that you feel are important and use lifelibertyfreedom.com to email every Republican legislator in the house to tell them how you feel.  It will be Republicans that decide if these bills pass or not.  Please do not attack any of the legislators sponsoring the bills but focus on the bill itself.
You can reach State Representative Warren Petersen online.

Arizona Patriots – Urgent Call to Action – Contact Representative Bob Robson!

We have two important pro taxpayer bills being held in the House Rules Committee:

HB2026 (Rep. Ugenti) Paycheck Protection & HB2330 (Rep. Montenegro) Transparency in Government Union Negotiations

The Chair of the Rules Committee is Rep. Bob Robson. In last year’s legislative session Robson killed two pro taxpayer bills, by never giving them a hearing.

HB2330 & HB2026 meet Arizona Constitutional requirements and should be sent to the House floor for a vote, not held to die in Committee.

In the last session we scored a stunning victory. Versions of Consolidated Elections had been put forward and defeated in the AZ legislature for over 10 years.

Last session Rep. Ugenti sponsored HB2826, Consolidated Elections, and fought tooth and nail for this bill throughout the entire session. The activist community joined Rep. Ugenti in this battle and responded with hundreds, perhaps over 1,000, phone calls and emails to resistant legislators. In the end we prevailed.

It will take this same effort to get further union reform bills passed as we, unfortunately, still have Republican government union supporting legislative members.

We need HB2330 & HB2026 to continue the effort to level the playing field for the overburdened taxpayer.

It appears that Rep.Robson has chosen to be on the side of the government unions. 

It is up to us to stand up for the hardworking Arizona taxpayer.

PLEASE email and/ or call Rep. Robson, everyday if possible, and tell him that the taxpayers want HB2330 & HB2026 sent out of his Rules Committee immediately.

We need to get this done as quickly as possible.

Rep. Bob Robson: brobson@azleg.gov 602-926-5549 

If Robson is opposed to these bills, he can cast his vote on the House floor along with all of the other State Representatives.

This is a democracy, not a dictatorship.

Thank you again!

Marcus Huey
Arizona Taxpayer

Governor Brewer, we DON’T want to expand Medicaid.

In November 2010, the voters of Arizona voted for Prop 106, the Arizona Health Insurance Reform Amendment, which was a legislatively-referred Constitutional Amendment that passed by 55.3% of the voters.

The proposition prohibits the enactment of laws or rules that require any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system.  It specifically allows health care providers to accept direct payment and allows private health insurance.

It is also true that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) cannot force any state to expand its Medicaid system to include people who earn from 100% to 133% of the poverty rate.

Arizona went through the disastrous expansion of Medicaid coverage when promised the cost would be paid by the Tobacco Settlement.  When revenue proved inadequate, Arizona had to pick up the costs and the state ran up a $3 BILLION deficit before the legislature could get it under control.  Childless individuals were taken off the Medicaid rolls.  That combined with the temporary 1% sales tax, restored money that was cut from the schools to balance the budget.

The waiver AZ received from the federal government to cut childless people out of Medicaid, when we did not have a surplus, expires in 2014.

Gov. Brewer wants to again expand Medicaid even further.  Yes, the Federal Government promises to pay the cost for new people into Medicaid, (About 57,000 people) but soon that will drop to a 90% match, then to 80% match.  This federal money is not some big free pot of money.  It will be taken from people who would otherwise expand their businesses, create jobs, and grow the economy.

Governor Brewer believes she can write an automatic trigger to push the “new people” out of Medicaid when the federal reimbursement begins to drop.

The reimbursements to doctors from ACCCHS (Arizona’s Medicaid) are so low (about 56% of what private insurance pays) that you will almost never see a doctor.  You will be treated by physicians’ assistants and nurses.  If you are over 50, the Independent Payment Advisory Board will decide if you are even to be admitted.

There are people who will make money off ACCCHS (Medicaid) and those are the one or two big insurance companies who will be permitted in the “exchanges” to write insurance.  Big hospitals and big pharmaceutical companies will also get rich as well as the Medicaid administrator.  Federal law requires states to pay managed care contractors, BUT NOT “PROVIDERS” (i.e. doctors) at “actuarially sound” rates.

Furthermore, the Enrollee Hold Harmless Clause provides the managed care entity with bankruptcy protection so it can do the work of denying care with impunity.  Thus, managed care can cash in on the bonanza with little down side risk.

Nationwide, the 60 million people on Medicaid consume on average 23.5% of state budgets.  For many states that exceeds the K-12 budget.  In Massachusetts, where RomneyCare has been in place since 2006, it consumes 45% of the budget. Why would cost increases be less for Arizona?

Governor Brewer, we DON’T want to expand Medicaid.

Americans should be looking at ways that reduce the cost of medical treatment.  It has been proven many times that when people are spending their own money they are frugal shoppers. Just as car insurance cost would “go thru the roof” if it paid for oil changes, wiper blades and new tires- the same is true of health insurance that covers everything.  Conservatives advocate a catastrophic policy  (coverage for serious illness) combined with a Health Savings Account where individuals pay for routine stuff- then health insurance increases would be no more than normal inflation.

The Governor sees a $300 million cost savings for this year if Medicaid is expanded, but what happens when the federal reimbursement decreases?

Lefties want government to control every aspect of your life.  Constitutionalists believe individuals will make better decisions for themselves.  No Utopian scheme has ever worked.  Not Fascism, not Communism, not Socialism not a bloated government workforce, not crony-capitalism and not compounding debt.  Only true, competitive Capitalism gets an economy growing.

Message from Pima County Republican Chair.

WSJ – Governor Brewer’s Spectacular Flip-Flop

The GOP’s ObamaCare Flippers

Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal

February 4, 2013

As D-Day looms for ObamaCare, one big question is how many states will sign up for its Medicaid expansion. The recent and spectacular flip-flop of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is a case study in the political pressure and fiscal gimmicks designed to get states to succumb. It’s also a study in the arcane and perverse ObamaCare incentives that are intended to gather ever more health-care spending under federal control.

***

Arizona’s current Medicaid program is well run by the program’s standards—a low bar—but it is also too large. The program now finances one of every two in-state births and two of every three days seniors spend in nursing homes. Spending tripled in the last decade to $9 billion a year.

That’s despite $1.8 billion in cuts since 2009. The state fisc was such a mess that in 2010 Arizona Medicaid banned paying for several types of organ transplants. In March of that year, Ms. Brewer wrote to Mr. Obama calling the Affordable Care Act “a vast new entitlement program that our country does not have the resources to support” and also one that “makes our situation much worse, exacerbating our state’s fiscal woes by billions of dollars.”

Arizona argued before the Supreme Court that the Medicaid mandate was unconstitutional, anti-federalist commandeering—and seven Justices agreed it was “a gun to the head” and allowed states to opt out without penalty.

But so much for that. In her State of the State address last month, Ms. Brewer pulled a political 180°—or maybe 540°—and said expanding Medicaid would “inject $2 billion into our economy and “save and create thousands of jobs.” (Is Larry Summers moonlighting as a Brewer speechwriter?)

One secret of her switcheroo is Medicaid’s “matching rate” formula, in which the feds pick up 67% of Arizona’s existing spending and 100% (and later 90%) of the costs of ObamaCare’s newly eligible population. The state supposedly no longer needs to spend “billions” but merely an extra $154 million in 2014—then bank $1.6 billion from Washington, which her budget documents call “a return on investment of more than 10-to-1.”

Associated PressArizona Governor Jan Brewer

How can the state conjure such money from nothing? The answer is that Ms. Brewer and Arizona hospitals have cooked up a spending scheme to rip off national taxpayers to avoid even the $154 million the state would at first pay. The hospital lobby first floated this scheme in 2011 “for the specific purpose of generating matching federal Medicaid funds.”

Here’s how it works: Arizona will tax hospitals and insurers for the $154 million. Then it will return $154 million to the health industry via more Medicaid business that will cover the cost of the tax and then some. The money needs to make a round trip from providers to the state and back to providers to game that 67% federal matching rate.

So Arizona takes (say) $3 from a hospital and then turns around and pays the $3 back, using one of the hospital’s own dollars that Arizona converted to “revenue” plus two dollars courtesy of Washington for its 67% federal share of the $3 payment. Arizona can then use the hospital’s remaining $2 of the original $3 to pay for another $6 of Medicaid expansion.

Some 49 state now use this trick of so-called provider taxes to goose federal spending, up from 21 in 2003. (Alaska is the exception.) But the practice is so abusive that even Mr. Obama proposed new limits in his last two budgets.

This subsidy honeypot can’t last forever, which is why other Governors are more skeptical about this Obama Medicaid windfall. When the money inevitably runs out, states will retain permanently larger obligations and lose budget autonomy for a generation or two as health care crowds out other priorities like education and roads.

Ms. Brewer was nonetheless besieged by health-industry lobbying, especially from hospitals that want more government money and the insurers that administer Medicaid. The campaign is orchestrated by Chuck Coughlin, Ms. Brewer’s former political strategist, and Peter Burns, a former Brewer budget consultant.

Providers are especially powerful at the state and local level, and the goal now is to rush the Brewer-Obama condominium through the Phoenix legislature with little debate. A particular offender is the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, a trade group whose 2012 agenda includes “Oppose Taxpayer Bill of Rights-style legislative referendums or bills that arbitrarily limit state spending.”

Ms. Brewer’s other rationale is that everybody else is doing it, and that if Arizona opts out of a larger Medicaid then “Arizona’s tax dollars would simply be passed to another state.” Well, no, Washington would simply spend less money that it doesn’t have. In any event Arizona is already a net tax beneficiary—pulling down $1.19 from the feds for every dollar it sends to D.C., according to the Tax Foundation.

Ten other GOP Governors have rejected Mr. Obama’s Medicaid bribe, with another 20, Democrats and Republicans, undecided. Twenty are expanding, including Republicans Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota and even, on Monday, Ohio’s John Kasich. Thus does modern government create the carrots and sticks of ever-larger government.

 

 

Open letter from Nick Dranias, Compact for America Balanced Budget Amendment, Goldwater Institute 2/2/13 I

I have an eight year old and a six year old. With the latest news of an economy possibly sliding back into recession and projections of the federal debt going to 200% of GDP, I am increasingly fearful of what lies in store for them in ten or twelve years. We have to throttle back the in-creasingly exponential use of debt before we run out of time. 49 states have recognized that the power to borrow must be limited to some extent. It is simply stunning that the federal government stands nearly alone in maintaining unlimited  power to “borrow” resources from voiceless future generations. More than that, the federal government’s lack of constitutional constraint on borrowing presents a looming disaster.

Our national approach to debt reminds me of those movies from Science or Discovery Channel of those beautiful seemingly indestructible suspension bridges that start gyrating because of a     minor tremor or breeze and then because of some failed calculation or screwed up angle in construction, the gyrations build into massive waves, and eventually bring the whole bridge    down. The   Founders did a great job in most respects in designing our Constitution–mixing elements of democracy, aristocracy and monarchy to draw on the strengths of each and counterbalance the flaws of each so that our system could handle a heavy load of misguided majorities or minorities–but they forgot about protecting future generations from current generations’ potential for greed when it comes to easy credit. And they forgot about the unique power debt has to create unsustainable bubbles, not just in the economy, but also in government, because of the natural human incentive to live for the “now” at the expense of the future.

We don’t have much time to correct this tragic system design flaw.

There was a time when principled Americans could unite on common ground to solve common problems. Take for example the Arizona Constitution. Over one hundred years ago it imposed a debt limit, banned subsidies, prohibited the private use of public credit, and barred special privileges and immunities. These reforms represented a historic consensus of the Left, the Right and the Middle of its day. It represented lessons learned after a quarter century of Robber Barons abusing the system to subsidize their risky ventures with taxpayer dollars and credit.

It was good public policy whose time had come. Anyone could see it. Good people united to fix a problem. This story was repeated throughout the American West.

The Compact for America, which has already been introduced in state legislatures across the Nation, presents us with the same opportunity to fix a problem that is many orders of magnitude greater than that faced by Arizona’s founders. With our national debt now in excess of 100% of Gross Domestic Product, and projected to hit 200% soon, itis time to stop pointing fingers at      who is responsible. We owe it to the next generation not to win a debate or an election, but to     stop mortgaging their future. The Compact for America provides a way to fix the debt without requiring anyone to compromise their principles on matters of substantive public policy.

You only have to agree that it is wrong to burden nonvoting future generations with our policy choices.

You only have to agree that, if we have to raise more revenue to pay down the debt we’ve run up,  and then we should do so with a flatter, fairer, less invasive, and more  voluntary tax code.

The Compact for America is designed to find common ground to fix a problem that is almost out     of hand. It is a unique non-partisan effort to organize the states quickly and efficiently around  advancing a powerful Balanced Budget Amendment idea. This Amendment would require Washington to secure approval from a majority of state legislatures for any increase in the      federal debt. It would regulate the use of debt to prevent its abuse by decentralizing Washington’s power  to incur debt. By inviting state legislatures into the role of a national board of directors, the Compact for America would finally give thestates a seat at the table in Washington. At the same time, it would ensure national debt policymakers are more accessible to the people and that any increase in the federal debt reflects a broad national consensus.

Equally important, the Compact for America uses anagreement among the states to generate a  “turn key” approach to originating this powerful Balanced BudgetAmendment. The Compact organizes its member states toapply to Congress for a convention to propose the BBAunder       Article V of the U.S. Constitution; it designates and instructs member state delegates to advance solely the BBA; it specifies the convention location, agenda, committee structure, and rules; it  limits the convention to a single 24 hour session devoted to an up or down vote on the BBA; it prohibits any other agenda and bars every member state from ratifying anything that might be proposed by the convention other than the BBA; and it pre-ratifies the BBA if it is approved by the convention and referred for ratification by Congress. The Compact for America also ensures the convention will be organized only if 38 states join the compact and only if Congress calls the convention in accordance with the Compact. This ensures that nothing happens until both ratification can be achieved without further legislative action and the convention logistics set out  in the Compact obtain the status of both state and federal law and are guaranteed under the Contracts Clause of the  United States Constitution under current U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

In short, with the Compact for America, we finally have a practical, efficient, targeted and undeniably safe vehicle for originating a BBA.

If you have ten minutes to learn more, please watch the overview video at www.compactforamerica.org.

If you have the time or the financial wherewithal to helpsupport this effort, please let me know.