The Lie that is Michele Reagan

The Lie that is Michele Reagan

Senator Michele Reagan from Legislative District 23 is the most effective traitor to ever serve in the Arizona Legislator.  Michele can currently be found skipping through the state asking you to forgive her, again, for banding with a traitorous group of Republicans and voting, again, with the Democrats, and oh pretty please can you not add her name on that censure. Michele has been a traitor not once not twice but three separate times granting her the distinct status as “the traitor who has survived” and is now so emboldened by her ability to make excuses for rolling the Senate President and bringing Obrewercare to Arizona that she is asking for a promotion! She wants to be the next Secretary of State – yikes!

To prove that good silver-tongued politicians from Chicago are not solely confined to the Democrat party Michele is now running through the legislative district circuit spinning her vote for Obrewercare.  And just in case you want to try and argue her mastery of the “excuse” she delivers by changing her story for different LD’s proving her knack for being consistently inconsistent.

Michele’s LD23 version was reported in the Arizona Freedom Alliance, “I voted yes to be sure it passed and went to the House.  The House is much more conservative than the Senate and I expect them to strip the medicaid expansion out of that bill before sending it back to the Senate” Huh?  AFA calls this a tad convoluted and speculates that she was attempting to help secure a 2/3 majority.  But Michele is already spinning on over to LD18 with the line that it was a calculated parliamentarian move so she could make a motion to reconsider but the Governor messed it all up with the Special Session … O.K?  One itty bitty detail Michele, the motion to reconsider needs to be made before it leaves the body, so why didn’t you make the motion?

The validity of the excuse is tainted because not once, not twice, but THREE times Michele sided with a small drove of Republicans, and 100% of the Democrat caucus, in a hostile act against the Republican principle of limited government.

In May of 2004 Michele voted “YEA” with 14 Republicans for Democrat Janet Napolitano’s budget to raise the state budget more than a billion dollars. The Senate President at the time stated “The liberals defied every principle of the Republican Party. We had commitments, but this was betrayed by dishonest people. They worked behind the scenes with the governor.”

No Republican that voted for the 2004 budget is currently serving in an elected office except for Michele Reagan. 

In 2008 Michele willingly joined three Republicans, 100% of the Democrats and Governor Napolitano to deliver another deficit producing budget HB2209 by a 31 yes to 29 no vote.

No Republican that voted for the 2008 budget is currently serving in an elected office except for Michele Reagan.

So this May Michele, again, joins 5 Republicans and votes ‘YEA’ for Obrewercare, SB1492,  in the middle of the night after Senator McComish made a motion to suspend the rules to stop Senate President Andy Biggs from trying to save Arizona from the train-wreck that is Obamacare.

It is crystal clear – Michele voted for Obrewercare. Michele attended meetings where they plotted how they would force this down our throats.  Michele attended the pizza party the Governor threw on the 9th floor during a break.  And now Michele is again making excuses.

Just in case you want to fall for dear old Michele’s spell that convinces folks that RINO horn is really an elephant trunk then remember in April 2006 she voted, again, with 100% of the Democrat caucus and with 2 Republicans ‘NAY’ against HB 2666 – Notarized Parental Consent for Abortions. Nothing Republican there.  Then in 2009 she sponsors bill HB2544 to teach sex education in the Kindergarten classroom.  Nothing Republican there.

Michele with full purpose and intent has cast herself into the role of traitor.  Whatever character flaw you want to contribute to an elected official who will intentionally vote against the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, their own caucus and the wishes of the Precinct committeemen who walked for them, made phone calls for them, and who gave them money and then passed a resolution taking an unequivocal stand you cannot excuse this knife in all these backs. 

It is time for all Republicans take a stand and hold those we elect accountable for their votes.

Come on Republicans. Censure Michele Reagan and do not give her the opportunity to stab our Republicans in the back again.

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The Senate Brewercrats:

BILL STATUS VOTES FOR SB1492 – Third Reading

Member Name Vote Member Name Vote Member Name Vote
Ed Ableser Y Nancy Barto N David Bradley Y
Judy Burges N Olivia Cajero Bedford Y Rich Crandall Y
Chester Crandell N Adam Driggs Y Steve Farley Y
Steve Gallardo Y Gail Griffin N Katie Hobbs Y
Jack Jackson Jr. Y Leah Landrum Taylor Y Linda Lopez Y
John McComish Y Barbara McGuire Y Al Melvin N
Robert Meza Y Rick Murphy N Lynne Pancrazi Y
Steve Pierce Y Michele Reagan Y Don Shooter N
Anna Tovar Y Kelli Ward N Bob Worsley Y
Steve Yarbrough N Kimberly Yee N Andy Biggs N

 

AYES: 19   NAYS: 11   NOT VOTING: 0   EXCUSED: 0   VACANT: 0

 

UPDATE: Hospitals Paying Traitors for Their Yes Votes on OBrewercare

Monday’s, September 23′s, Yellow Sheet Report reported that the Friday, September 20 fundraiser thrown by the health care-industrial complex for their bought-and-paid-for legislators (Sens. McComish [LD 18], Pierce [LD1], Driggs [LD 28], and Worsley [LD 25], and Reps. Shope [LD 8], McGee [LD28], Carter [LD 15], Coleman [LD 16], Dial [LD 18], Goodale [LD 5], Orr [LD 9], Pratt [LD 8], and Robson [LD 18]) who voted to expand Medicaid rolls under Obamacare is expected to raise $350,000 meaning that the 13 Republican traitors for whom the event was thrown will receive almost $27,000 for their campaign warchests in exchange for their votes assuming the cash is split evenly.  The article states that the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association is holding another fundraiser for these traitors in roughly a month on October 23.  Assuming that this upcoming fundraiser collects as much as the one on September 20, the hospital-industrial complex will be halfway to fulfilling their promise to give turncoat legislators $100,000 for their campaign warchests.

To additionally show that this is a quid pro quo, note that the recipients of this campaign cash DIRECTLY matches the traitorous Republicans that voted to expand Arizona’s medicaid program under Obamacare’s provisions (HB 2010 in the First Special Session of the 51st Legislature).  Also, the Yellow Sheet reports that a lobbyist at the event stated that the fundraiser was to support those Republicans that voted for OBrewercare who would likely face primary opposition .  The unnamed lobbyist indicated that the hospital-industrial complex crony corporatists wanted to do “everything we can to assist them.”  In other words, the traitors lined the hospitals’ pockets, now, it’s time for the health care industry pay these corrupt politicans back by giving them the resources necessary to be nigh undefeatable in an election.

Keep an eye out, voters.  We could be seeing two additional fundraisers for these criminals and it will give them almost insurmountable cash to ensure that they are re-elected.  Not only did these people take money out of your pocket to line their own, but they are also trying to subvert your choice in who represents you.  You should be very angry.  Again, follow the money.  When their campaign finance reports come out, read them.  Learn exactly who is pulling their strings.  FINANCIALLY support their primary opponents!  Tell everyone you can about what you know about these criminals that are fleecing you.  Remember what you’ve learned when you go to the polls and urge your friends to do the same.

OBrewercare Traitors Get Paid for Their Votes

Tonight, those traitorous Republicans in the Arizona state legislature who voted for Medicaid expansion are getting paid for their yes votes on OBrewercare by the hospital-industrial complex. The Governor is hosting a fundraiser for Sens. Steve Pierce, John McComishAdam Driggs, and  Bob Worsley, and Reps. Heather Carter, Kate McGee, Doug Coleman, Jeff Dial, Doris Goodale, Ethan Orr, Frank Pratt, Bob Robson, and T.J. Shope at the home of hospital CEO Reg Ballantyne. This is, quite clearly, a quid pro quo: they’re getting paid off for their yes votes to swell the rolls of Medicaid recipients at the cost of not only sick people (via a bed tax), but the American taxpayer as well (via increased Medicaid payments from the feds to Arizona, then to the hospitals). There is no other way to characterize this as anything but legal corruption.  The Governor, the legislators, consultants Chuck Coughlin and Peter Burns, and the hospital-industiral complex donors should all be going to prison for a very long time for corruption.

To fully illustrate that this is a quid pro quo, harken back to Loren Heal’s article on the subject on FreedomWorks.org‘s website on June 13 of this year. In that article, Heal stated that in August of 2012, a “consortium of the state’s hospitals, insurers, and left-wing groups” hired consultant Chuck Coughlin of High Ground and socialized medicine proponent and leftist Peter Burns to ensure that Medicaid expansion, a part of Obamacare, was passed in Arizona. Coughlin, who is the Governor’s puppeteer, told Brewer to push for expansion. As if Brewer were a ventriloquist’s dummy sitting on Coughlin’s lap, she parroted what Coughlin told her to say in her State of the State address in January 2013: expand Medicaid as Obamacare directs. According to beforeitsnews.com, Rep. Warren Petersen stated that Coughlin held a fundraiser to show legislators that if they voted for expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, the hospital-industrial complex could help raise money to give them immense campaign warchests for their re-election efforts. Well, enough traitorous Republicans took the bait, voted for OBrewercare, and tonight, they’re getting their payoff. While the invite, sent out by Rep. Heather Carter, suggests a $500 donation for each legislator, rumor has it that the hospital-industrial complex donors have to have $6,500 to get in the door ($500 for EACH)! That’s how they plan on rewarding each one of these traitors with at least $100K for their 2014 campaigns.

Follow the money, people. This is corporate cronyism at its worst. Hospitals have used the power of government to take money right out of your pocket to line their own pockets. The perpetrators should be punished severely, but they likely will not be. If the failure to put Obamacare on the ballot is any indication, you are not mad enough at these criminals and they will have the warchests necessary to keep their seats and the low-information masses will re-elect them. Until you get angry enough to change things, expect more of this in the future. Call these legislators. Shame them (granted, they are shameless since their actions are so brazen)…but you’ve GOT to do more than shame them: you’ve GOT to collect signatures for their opponents, DONATE to their opponents, talk to your neighbors about how corrupt these corporate cronies are, and VOTE against them AND get your NEIGHBORS to vote against them too. If you’re NOT THAT angry, you’re not paying attention.

Give yourself an Obamacare / Medicaid Expansion Waiver

Who wants Obamacare?

Capitol Hill employees say “NO”.  Members of Congress and Hill Aides say “NO”.

IRS employees say ”NO”.  IRS Employees Just Say ‘No!’ to Obamacare.

Teamsters Union says ”NO.”  Union Bosses:’ObamaCare Will Destroy Health of Americans.

Brewer & the 15 Rogue Republicans say “YES”.

Join URAPC and say “NO.”  Sign the petition and give yourself a waiver.

Waivers are flying out of the Obama office for everyone BUT the Alliance – precinct committeemen, hard-working taxpayers and small business owners. Calling or writing your Representatives will not help you. This is you against your government – so help yourself and fill up a petition. Give a friend a petition.

Right now – this is your only power.  It is true – YOU and “We The People” can stop Obamacare and the Medicaid Expansion in Arizona.  When the signatures are validated – it stops.

The establishment has a different plan. They believe you should let the Medicaid Expansion go into effect in January and then they want you to work really, really hard to get Republicans elected in 2014 and then they want you to believe those Republicans will vote this all away.

I do not believe that.

And what about the next session?  What will happen then?

What will the Governor agree to just to get her education agenda passed?
Will Brewer call a “special session” put in new leadership and pass the Obamacare Exchanges?
Will Brewer run for Governor again?
Will Brewer offer amnesty to the illegals in AZ?

Who do you believe?

Give yourself a waiver – sign the petition.

www.urapc.org

 

Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen -
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               ”When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

The Alliance of Principled Conservatives Stands for Founding Principles


In 1776 the British monarchy hired the Hessian mercenaries to terrorize the colonists in the New World. Ideas like “freedom” and “representation” were considered extreme and radical.

Today in Arizona we face a Governor willing to bypass the checks and balances put in place by our Founding Fathers. A Governor who purposely uses special privileges as a weapon against elected legislators. A Governor who is willing to subvert the spirit of the constitution, call a special session and suspend the rules just to force the largest socialistic takeover in U.S. history – the Obamacare/Medicaid Expansion – upon the people she was elected to serve.

She trampled on our rights. She took away our right to fair representation.  The end result of her actions will eventually lead to the full implementation of Obamacare which will force Arizonans to buy taxed tea ..oops.. I mean Federal health insurance.

Our Government is trampling on our freedoms at the National and State level.

The United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives is also labeled “extreme” and “fringe.” URAPC has risen up with pens and clipboards in hand to stop Obamacare using volunteer grassroots Arizonans. So the Governor’s Team forms an opposing committee that throws around outrageous accusations that if URAPC is   “successful, there are a lot of people who are going to get harmed” and then threatening “we’re going to be as aggressive as possible to get out to the public.” 

  • They cannot win on the issues.
  • They cannot get a bill passed without suspending the rules, and threatening to remove the President and Speaker.
  • Now they are “aggressively” misleading a.k.a. lying to people to stop us from gathering signatures.

In spite of a well funded $150,000 campaign to stop the gathering of signatures the Alliance of volunteer Republican Principled Conservatives grows. 

Swelling the ranks are activists who have been discouraged by the lack of conviction, the lack of pride in the basic Republican tenets of limited government and individual responsibility, and the courage to stand and say “that is wrong get out of the tent.”

URAPC is committed to maintaining the deep individualist spirit of Arizona and restoring freedom from an obtrusive government by leading the way to Veto Governor Brewer’s Medicaid Expansion.

Join us today and fill out a petition today!

www.urapc.org

Rep. Paul Boyer: Budget Process Was Not “Democracy In Action”

As a legislative liaison for an agency of the executive branch, I witnessed numerous budgets from their initial framework through the finished product, including negotiations and committee hearings. I was also a House majority staffer, where I helped outline and communicate several state budgets. It was shocking and frustrating to have my first budget as a state legislator be the least transparent in recent memory.

It is unprecedented for the Legislature to pass a budget without an Appropriations Committee hearing and public input. That happened here. It is also unprecedented for a sponsor to refuse to answer a single question on budget bills in his or her name. That happened here.

Further, our Committee of the Whole, which includes all members, gathers to debate and shape bills. That did not happen here. In our case, the only debate that mattered convened behind closed doors with the governor and a handful of lawmakers who made a deal to pass the governor’s Medicaid expansion.

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The Gov. Jan Brewer’s legislative cadre consists of 24 Democrats and nine Republicans in the House. They passed what is arguably the largest federal takeover of Arizona’s economy in state history with her Medicaid-expansion plan. They accomplished this through suspending House rules, refusing to answer questions and prohibiting public testimony.

We repeatedly asked the budget sponsor, Rep. Frank Pratt, R-Casa Grande, to answer questions on the 654 pages of budget bills and amendments in his name. He refused to answer a single question, later saying he wanted to keep the budget process as short as possible.

The governor’s spokesman had the audacity to call these actions “democracy in action.” It’s unnerving to suggest suspending the rules, refusing public input, pushing a budget through without an Appropriations Committee hearing, passing amendments with no time to read them and refusing to answer questions, democracy in action.

Supporters argue this violation of the process was acceptable because they believe the Medicaid expansion is good policy. Regardless, we should always respect the process. We have three branches of government, not two.

While the legislative and executive branches may not always agree, it is critical we have mutual respect and honor the integrity of the process. That did not happen here.

The public still needs to know what impact this budget and massive government expansion will have on our economy.

Does this budget spend more than we bring in? For example, the governor said her budget spends $15 million less over three years than the conservative House budget. However, she does not include her hospital bed tax in this equation and actually counts that against new spending, which is actually $286 million higher than our budget.

If the state Capitol is truly the people’s house, then the people have a right to know what the Legislature is proposing before we pass it.

Arizonans sent us here to discuss and debate what we pass publicly so all Arizonans know how the Legislature is spending their tax dollars.

And that wasn’t all of it. The Governor’s legislative caucus was ready to push out her Medicaid expansion and her budget in one day until the Rules attorney told them couldn’t without 2/3rds (40 Members), an Arizona Constitutional requirement and they only had 33 votes.

They were also prepared to remove the Speaker and the President if Leadership didn’t do what they wanted. One freshman legislator was quoted as saying they would remove Speaker Tobin if “he didn’t play nice,” when the entire time we all knew they had a vehicle to get Medicaid expansion up to the Governor (SB 1057) and we just put our conservative House budget on the Appropriations agenda for that Thursday. Given they had 33 votes, they could’ve easily added whatever they wanted to what we passed out of Appropriations, i.e. none of this was necessary. They still could have pushed for everything they wanted without violating the process and giving Arizonans a chance to weigh in and know exactly what they were passing. Most of the Governor’s legislative caucus didn’t even know what they voted for.

Not to mention President Andy Biggs found out about the Special Session from a reporter as he was driving home. I was with House Leadership when we found out about the Special Session that began at 5pm on Tuesday after it had already begun.

Representative Justin Olson from his floor testimony was correct. The Governor and her legislative cadre have promised entitlements we will never be able to pay for. And the core, necessary services government is obligated to provide will suffer as a result, along with every other legislative priority.

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Republican State Representative Paul Boyer, represents Legislative District 20, which covers parts of Phoenix and Glendale. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

American Commitment Thanks Arizona’s True Conservatives

American Commitment released the following video showing footage of the true conservatives in the Arizona House of Representatives standing up to a Machiavellian move by Governor Brewer, the entire Democrat delegation and nine rogue Republicans.

Sonoran Alliance also thanks the conservatives in the House who understand the horrific long-term fiscal impact that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will have on the State of Arizona, long after Governor Brewer makes her exit from public service. These men and women cannot be held responsible for the damage that this bad law will have on Arizona citizens. They stood their ground and for that, we are grateful.

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Washington Examiner: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer rams through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion

Reposted from the Washington Examiner for all the blind followers or corporate cronyists of Governor Brewer.

By Philip Klein
Senior Editorial Writer

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, working with Democrats against members of her own party, rammed through a vast expansion of the Medicaid program under Obamacare through the state legislature, putting federal taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in health care spending.

Despite claiming to oppose President Obama’s health care law, Brewer embraced one of the law’s most expensive provisions — a Medicaid expansion — in January, under the influence of lobbying from the hospital industry.

Brewer then spent the past several months trying to coax reluctant members of her own party to back the measure. When that failed, she called a special session of the state legislature, and formed an alliance with Democrats to ram the bill through the state House at 3:40 am this morning.

As a result of the lawsuit that Arizona was a part of, the Supreme Court ruled that states must be given the option of whether or not to accept the expansion of Medicaid that was part of the health care law. It is expected to pass through the senate.

(keep reading)

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Rep Warren Petersen: Why Conservatives Oppose Expansion of Obamacare

Warren PetersenThe battle over the Arizona expansion of Obamacare resembles the fight between David and Goliath. The pro-expansion team has millions of dollars, powerful lobbyists, support from all Democratic legislators, most if not all of the media and a few Republicans who have defected to their cause.

You’ve probably heard radio ads, watched commercials on ESPN or received a full page glossy mailer promoting their “conservative plan.” The only problem is that conservative legislators do not support it.

Here are a few reasons why.

We don’t fall for optical illusions. When the pro-expansion team bused in 300 people to their last rally, we knew that their support was a charade. When they say 63,000 people will lose coverage, we knew that it was not true. Those currently on Medicaid will still have coverage with or without the expansion. Even if it was true, they could get insurance from exchanges with any minimum wage job. We know that it is money and not compassion that is driving this train. A train that Harry Reid (U.S. Senate majority leader) said will wreck without the appropriation of more federal funds.

We stick to the facts and know that the budget put forth by Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs will not drain the rainy day fund or kick people off Medicaid. It does, however, include a request to renew our federal waiver. The pro-expansion team has said the waiver has been denied when, in reality, it has not. Cutting and pasting a web FAQ directed to 50 states is not the same as formally submitting your plan and receiving a denial letter. Ironically, this is the same argument the Democrats made when we last requested a waiver. They said we couldn’t get it, but we did. Will they deny that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled you can’t coerce people into expansion?

Another fact is that expansion doesn’t deal with health care of poor children. We are talking about a select group of adults of whom many have incomes above the poverty level. We are not talking about disabled people who cannot work. They have and will continue to have Medicaid coverage.

We have learned from history that we can afford to wait a year with or without the waiver as Arizona was the last state to implement Medicaid. We waited about 20 years and now it consumes one of every four dollars we spend. Obamacare is going to implode, which even the pro-expansion team admits. When it does, the expansion will go with it. It would be foolish to add onto something that is unraveling prior to implementation.

We know the numbers don’t add up. Conservatives don’t raise taxes on hospitals as a gimmick to draw down federal funds and they don’t put hundreds of thousands of people on a welfare program that will cost billions. Billions will be added to the national debt of which some will be used to fund abortions. Fortunately, half of the states have now refused the expansion. They took advantage of this rare opportunity to cut federal spending.

We believe in the American dream, which depends on every able bodied American to contribute and work. As mentioned before, a minimum wage job qualifies a person for health care exchange coverage. This will increase wealth and allow further contributions to society. Ours is a society that has been the most prosperous in the world because it promises that people can keep what they earn. Nations that guarantee benefits others have earned fail. Conservatives understand that and know that expansion is nothing more than massive growth of the welfare state and a direct threat to our long-term economic health.

Warren Petersen serves the citizens of Legislative District 12. He and his wife and children reside in the Town of Gilbert. For more information, visit his Facebook page.

The “People’s Veto” – Stop Obrewercare in Arizona.

Additional information is available at: www.urapc.org

On Tuesday former Arizona State Senators Frank Antenori and Ron Gould formed a committee named “The United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives,” or URAPC. The committee was formed for the purpose of stopping Obamacare and its associated Tax on hospital stays. Defeating Governor Brewer’s ill conceived and unconstitutional legislation must be referred to the ballot so it can be vetoed by the people of Arizona.

The Republican Precinct Committeemen of Arizona, united in their effort overwhelmingly passed resolutions opposing the Governors proposed expansion of Medicaid (AHCCS), a key component of Obamacare stating:
“The Voters of Arizona clearly expressed their will to reject implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) when they voted to amend the Arizona Constitution via Proposition 106 in 2010. The State of Arizona cannot afford to be saddled with the costs of implementing this federal program, AND the People of Arizona do not support Obamacare, assisting in the implementation of Obamacare, or subsidizing the Federal Government’s implementation Obamacare with State funds.” The PC resolutions continued to explicitly reject hidden tax increases and new entitlement programs.

Upon hearing of these resolutions, Governor Brewer openly mocked and ridiculed precinct committeemen, small businessmen, and the hard working taxpayers that voiced opposition to her efforts. As a result, they have formed an alliance to thwart the axis of Corporate welfare recipients, greedy lobbyists, and rogue Republican legislators, led by the Governor.

The alliance true to the independent spirit of Arizonans is motivated and committed to having their voices heard by collecting the required signatures to send this critical decision to the voters of Arizona.

AFP-Arizona Action Alert – Bring Your Sleeping Bag?

Americans for Prosperity - Arizona

ACTION ALERT – Thursday, May 23, 2013

To all Arizona Taxpayers and Health Care Freedom Fighters:

You can put away your sleeping bag, for now.

But be sure to pull out your cell phone… 

Earlier this week, as I planned this action alert, I was going to suggest to diehard grassroots activists that you bring your sleeping bags and camp out at the Arizona Legislature tonight for what I thought would be the last night of the 2013 legislative session. Bad things often happen to good bills in the middle of the night, and bad bills you thought were dead often come back to life on the last night of session. And sometimes, a handful of vigilant activists and a handful of pro-taxpayer Legislators can successfully sound the alarm against shenanigans in the wee hours.

After last Thursday’s disastrous floor session in the Senate, it looked as if Governor Brewer’sproposed expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare was destined to pass in some form this week.

But after conversations yesterday with several House members, we believe that no action on the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion is likely until next week. Good news: Thanks in large part to grassroots pressure from taxpayer activists, resistance to the expansion is still very strong in the Republican majority.

KEEP UP THE PRESSURE!

The next big battle will be in the House Appropriations Committee, probably next week. Please contact your Legislators (especially House members), and urge them to vote NO — early and often — on the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. You can email them by using our ACTION LINK. Phone numbers for House members are available here (don’t waste your time calling the ones with “D” in the third column).

Handy URL for our email action page: http://tinyurl.com/nomedicaidexp

For Liberty, Tom

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity
www.aztaxpayers.org

NFIB Poll: Small Business Strongly Opposes Expanding Medicaid

NFIBforwebSurvey reveals Arizona entrepreneurs’ deep skepticism of federal funding promises

PHOENIX, Ariz., May 14, 2013 — In a poll released today by their leading association, small-business owners overwhelmingly oppose the high-stakes effort at the Arizona State Capitol to expand Medicaid coverage to all Arizonans at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level as envisioned by the federal healthcare law.

The recent survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB/Arizona) found 79 percent of Arizona small-business owners opposed to the proposed eligibility expansion for the state’s Medicaid program, also known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System or AHCCCS.

Eighteen percent support the Medicaid expansion proposal with less than 3 percent saying they are undecided.

NFIB Medicaid Poll ResultsThe controversial Medicaid proposal, a centerpiece of Gov. Jan Brewer’s legislative agenda, is principally backed by hospital systems and opposed by key legislative leaders like Senate President Andy Biggs and conservative activists.

The political impasse over Medicaid expansion has stalled the Legislature’s work on the state budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2013.

“Small businesses in Arizona clearly feel they are under siege by the Obamacare law, with its harsh employer mandates, new taxes and pervasive uncertainty,” said Farrell Quinlan, the Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “Our survey found that Arizona’s small-business owners continue to strongly oppose expanding AHCCCS eligibility, because they have no faith in the federal government’s promises to pay for adding hundreds-of-thousands of Arizonans to our Medicaid rolls. Our small-business owners know Washington is more than $16 trillion in debt and Congress will be under increasing pressure to cut the biggest drivers of federal spending – entitlements like Medicaid.”

NFIB/Arizona’s May survey on Medicaid expansion reaffirms small business’ sentiments against expanding Medicaid found in a prior survey conducted before Governor Brewer announced her support for the policy change during her State of the State Address in January.

NFIB Medicaid Poll Results 1/13 and 5/13

In that poll, 77 percent opposed the expansion with 13 percent favoring it and 10 undecided.

“It’s instructive that after months of intense promotion and expensive radio and television advertising campaigns, pro-expansion forces have utterly failed to move the support needle with Arizona small business owners,” said Quinlan. “The public’s attitudes have clearly hardened on Obamacare and the fundamental transformation of health care occurring in the United States.”

Respondents to NFIB/Arizona’s survey were also given the opportunity to provide an open-ended answer on the Medicaid expansion issue and implementation of Obamacare in general. The majority viewpoint is best summarized by one respondent’s declaration: “Arizona won’t be able to afford AHCCCS expansion when Washington realizes America can’t afford Obamacare.” Another opponent expressed his profound ambivalence over the decision before Arizona lawmakers: “Either choice is going to be tough and expensive, but to trust the federal government is a mistake. I do not feel that they will make good on their promise to cover the expenses.”

A Medicaid-expansion supporter wrote: “As I understand it, the expansion goes away if/when the federal money goes away. That is the only reason I am supporting it now. When Obama doesn’t want to pay for it anymore, neither should Arizonans.” Another supporter exclaimed: “Believe we are trapped. If O C [Obamacare] stays this seems like the only way to go. But we must have the 90 percent funding from the Feds.”

The latest poll was conducted May 6 to May 13, 2013, as an online and fax-returned survey with 375 Arizona small-business owners responding. The prior poll mentioned above was conducted November 9, 2012 to January 4, 2013 consisting of 449 Arizona small business owners responding. Both polls tested the same question though the set-up explanations of what proponents and opponents say about the policy proposal were updated and expanded in the latest survey. The online version of the May survey can be viewed here.

NFIB routinely surveys its members to determine the organization’s public policy position on issues at the federal and state levels. Due to the overwhelming and consistent results of the two surveys, the upcoming votes by the Arizona Senate and Arizona House of Representatives on Medicaid expansion have been identified as ‘key votes’ eligible to be used on NFIB/Arizona’s legislative score card for the 2013 session.

Commemorating its 70th anniversary, the National Federation of Independent Business is the nation’s leading small-business association with 350,000 members nationwide and 7,500 in Arizona. NFIB has offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small- and independent-business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends its views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

Medicaid Expansion: Been There, Done That

AFP Arizona

To all Arizona taxpayers and health care consumers:

When it comes to the fiscal costs and human damage of expanding Medicaid/AHCCCS under ObamaCare, we know that things will turn out badly.  How do we know?  Because we’ve been there, and we’ve done that.  Here is what past experience, here in Arizona and elsewhere, tells us about the proposed expansion:

1)   The Medicaid expansion will cost much more than projected.
2)  The expansion may do nothing to help low-income Arizonans — and could hurt them.
3)  The so-called “hidden health tax” won’t get fixed.
4)  Arizona must bargain hard to get a better deal.
5)  The disgusting ploy to gut Prop 108 taxpayer protections will lead to more tax hikes.

You can read more about each of those items below, and TAKE ACTION HERE.  And click onthis link for info about the health care freedom protest at the Arizona Capitol on May 15.

1)  The Medicaid expansion will cost much more than projected.

None of the promised fiscal results of Arizona’s last Medicaid/AHCCCS expansion (enacted by voters through Prop 204 in 2000) actually materialized.  Prop 204 backers promised that the AHCCCS expansion would save money in the state budget.  The Joint Legislative Budget Committee was somewhat wiser, knowing that the expansion would cost the state money.  The committee projected that covering the Prop 204 population would cost $389 million in 2008.  But the actual cost was $1.623 billion — four times as expensive as projected!

And of course, the projected $2 billion in federal matching funds is not “free.” Certainly not for federal taxpayers — including millions of Arizonans.  According to the Goldwater Institute’sChristina Corieri, if Arizona and 11 other fence-sitter States join the 18 States that have already said No to the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion, the country could save $609 billion by 2022. That’s real money — even in Washington!

2)  The expansion may do nothing to help low-income Arizonans — and could hurt them.

Several studies
 suggest that Medicaid may actually hurt its supposed beneficiaries, but there has been only one randomized study (the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment) comparing persons on Medicaid to persons having no insurance at all.  According to results released last weekthe study has so far failed to find any evidence that putting people on Medicaid saved any lives or made any improvements in several objective health markers (blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes).

Things will get worse in AHCCCS the longer ObamaCare goes without being repealed.  In Arizona, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 23 percent of doctors say they will not accept AHCCCS patients.  Combine large increases in the Medicaid population with a declining number of doctors, and the result will be longer waiting times for patients.  In medicine, longer waiting times often mean discomfort, disability and death.  Read more about the human cost of the Medicaid expansion HERE.

3)  The so-called “hidden health tax” won’t get fixed.

The proponents of the current Medicaid expansion estimate that there is a “hidden health tax” of $2,000 per family per year in higher insurance premiums caused by uncompensated care(uninsured or underinsured people using the emergency room).  13 years ago, backers of the Prop 204 Medicaid expansion made the same argument, claiming that the expansion was going to relieve the state’s uncompensated care problem.  But according to a Lewin Group study,uncompensated care in Arizona increased by an average of nine percent per year during the first seven years of the Prop 204 Medicaid expansion, and the average family’s health insurance premium increased from $8,972 in 2003 to $14,854 in 2011 – a 66 percent increase.

Before you believe the hospital lobby’s arguments about uncompensated care, be sure to read Christina Corieri’s latest post: Medicaid expansion will line hospitals’ pockets.

4)  Arizona must bargain hard to get a better deal.

The main reason Arizona’s Medicaid system (AHCCCS) is not as bad as that in most other States is that Arizona waited two decades to join the Medicaid program.  Because we held out, we were able to bargain for a better deal – a Medicaid program that has been better at controlling costs and has provided better options for patients than in many other States.

But Governor Brewer’s team has failed to even try negotiating with Obama’s department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  In its most recent message about the Section 1115 waiver, HHS said “we do not anticipate that we would authorize enrollment caps or similar policies” while still letting States get 2-to-1 matching dollars.  But of course, “we do not anticipate” is not the same thing as saying “No.”  Right now, HHS is in the position of having to negotiate with States, because 18 States have already said No to the Medicaid expansion, and 12 States are still on the fence.  At this point, we don’t know if HHS really means “No,” because the Governor’s team simply threw up the white flag and capitulated to the demands of the Obama Administration.

Further, the Governor’s cost projections are based on AHCCCS coverage under cookie cutter Medicaid rules – in other words, how much things will cost if we capitulate and run AHCCCS according to federal diktat, without negotiating for better ways to run the program.

5)  The disgusting ploy to gut Prop 108 taxpayer protections will lead to more tax hikes.

Proponents of the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion are trying to do an end-run around Prop 108, the most important taxpayer protection in the Arizona Constitution.  Under Prop 108, it is supposed to take a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to raise taxes.  But Medicaid expansion proponents want to allow an unelected bureaucrat at AHCCCS to raise state taxes (mainlyhospital bed taxes) by hundreds of millions of dollars per year — without a two-thirds vote of the Legislature!

In their efforts to squeeze a giant hospital bed tax (“provider tax”) through a tiny loophole in Prop 108, Governor Brewer and others are trying to pretend that the provider tax is not a tax — even though the provider tax is a TAX under the Social Security Act.  They are also trying to pretend that: the provider tax is not allocated according to formula, although it plainly is; the provider tax does not have a limit, although it is limited by federal law to six percent; and, we don’t know how much money will be raised by the tax, even though the Governor and some Legislators are building budgets around the expected revenue.

History shows that removing taxpayer protections inevitably leads to higher taxes.  If Arizona’s Legislators delegate to an AHCCCS bureaucrat the authority to impose gigantic taxes on hospital patients, they will kill Prop 108, clearing the way for other departments and agencies to raise taxes without getting approval by legislative supermajorities.

To block the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion and to stop the end-run around Arizona’s constitutional taxpayer protections, TAKE ACTION HERE. For more information about the May 15 health care freedom protest at the Arizona Capitol, go here.

For Liberty, Tom

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity
www.aztaxpayers.org

Dr. Kelli Ward: Opposition to Medicaid Expansion is Real

Dr. and Senator Kelli Ward

Dr. and Senator Kelli Ward

Since January, many of us at the State Capitol have been trying to determine a common sense way to approach reliable health care for our neediest citizens. It is clear that a full expansion of our Medicaid program to 138% above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) will add 400,000 patients or more to an already overloaded system. After carefully studying this complex issue, I have determined the plan is unsustainable and potentially harmful to hardworking Arizona taxpayers. We simply do not have the doctors and other health care providers to offer primary care to these new patients. When people are sick or seek care for their chronic illnesses, they will not be able to get into a doctor’s office, so they will instead turn to our emergency departments. Not only will that be much more expensive to Arizonans, but the people are unlikely to get the kind of care they need most.

The last time we expanded AHCCCS (the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System – AZ’s Medicaid); we grossly underestimated the number of people who would enroll. Three times more parents of Medicaid-covered children and two times as many childless adults signed up. Costs went from an estimated $315 million to an actual $1.2 billion. Voters were told tobacco settlement money under Prop 204 would cover the added patients, but quickly we had to dig into the general fund. Now we are being told a hospital bed tax will cover this expansion proposal and the Federal government will bear the burden of the majority of the costs until 2017. Remember, the Federal government gets its money from us – the taxpayers. While no one can predict the true future price tag, experience proves that the costs have always been much higher than estimated.

Do not let people tell you there are no alternatives and we either expand or do nothing – there are real options. We should request that HHS allow Arizona to continue our current plan for those under 100% FPL and for Arizona to determine the best way to provide care for our indigent population. We should find ways to complete treatment of Medicaid patients that are in the midst of potentially lifesaving therapy for catastrophic illnesses despite the expiration of our current Federal waiver on December 31, 2013 – we can find a way to make an exception for this small number of patients. People above 100% FPL that are not otherwise eligible for coverage are able to buy subsidized policies through the federal exchange, we should let them. We should consider providing catastrophic coverage policies for those under 100% of the Federal Poverty Level and a graduated plan for other services. Cost transparency should be our goal. We must seek tort reform to discourage the practice of defensive medicine which drives up the cost of healthcare.

Our Medicaid system in Arizona is one of the best in the country, but I don’t believe that we need to make it bigger and give control of the hundreds of millions of dollars to an unelected agency director. I will continue to seek free market solutions to our health care dilemma and find ways to care for those who are unable to care for themselves. If you only remember one thing, remember this: the Medicaid expansion plan is about increasing the entitlement to healthcare coverage without any guarantees of increased accountability, improved access to care, higher quality, or lower costs of healthcare – it is a step in the direction of socialized medicine and much bigger government.

Senator Kelli Ward

Senator Kelli Ward, D.O., MPH is a Family Physician with additional expertise in Health Policy, she represents Arizona’s 5th Legislative District and resides in Lake Havasu City, AZ with her family. She serves on the Senate Health & Human Services (Vice-Chair), Appropriations, Education and Government & Environment Committees.

Doug Ducey: Inside the Vault – An Update on Arizona’s Financial Health

Doug Ducey

2013 is off to a very good start!

We have a balanced budget, $2 billion in our operating account and another $450+ million in a savings account earning interest. Arizona is on firm financial footing and the Legislature is back to debating the merits of individual proposals and whether they deserve taxpayer support.

Yet, we’re still not out of the danger zone. If our revenue projections are slightly off or go on another spending spree, we could find ourselves into the same hole we’ve just crawled out of. I’m confident that the Governor and Legislature don’t want to head down that path.

I will continue to advocate for economic growth and financially responsible ideas within our state government. Two areas of particular concern for the long-term health of our finances are our public pension systems and our state debt – both of which are completely solvable situations.

In December 2012 the Defined Contribution & Retirement Study Committee completed a 2-year review of Arizona’s four retirement systems, which currently covers more than 581,000 employees, retirees, or former employees that have yet to retire.

The Pew Center for the States and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation produced a report for the Study Committee titled Arizona’s Pension Challenges in November 2012 highlighting a $13 billion shortfall between what should have been set aside to pay future pension benefits and what the state’s pension plans have on hand. In addition to a growing unfunded liability, the number of retired members in each of the four systems is growing faster than the number of new workers entering.

Much of the discussion surrounding any pension system revolves around complicated financial formulas. There is an equally important human element that must always be in the forefront; these pensions are for those who teach our children, police our streets, put out the fires, respond to medical emergencies, and keep the basic functions of government running.

We are fortunate that our pensions are in far better shape than many other states. That said, there are issues that require attention. Several reform options were explored by the Study Committee for policy makers to consider so Arizona can continue to strengthen and enhance those plans in order to protect the benefits to current retirees and employees that have earned them, as well taxpayers now and in the future.

The final report, as well as all the meeting minutes, presentations and research materials can be accessed here.

Equally as important is our state debt. In January the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) delivered their annual report of Arizona’s State Debt and the status of other financial obligations to the Appropriation Committees in both the House and Senate. Although the Legislature has gone to great lengths to deliver balanced budgets and begin to save money in the “Rainy Day Fund” the past two years, there are several areas on the state’s balance sheet that still need to be addressed.

Arizona’s total outstanding state debt exceeds $8.71 billion; increasing significantly from $4.89 billion in FY 2007. We continue to defer $1.2 billion of payments annually and our General Fund Debt Service costs will rise from $302 million in FY 2012 to $373 million in FY 2014.

Our state debt is too high. Today it is manageable. For tomorrow, we need to address our debt and pay for the money we’ve borrowed and already spent before we continue to commit to new spending. The entire report, which includes debt retirement options and a listing of all lease-purchase/bonding issuances from FY 2003, can be accessed online here.

We need to keep up the momentum that our state government has generated in showing that we can live within our means and demonstrate financial responsibility. Together, as taxpayers and citizens, we can hold elected leaders accountable for the future costs of today’s decisions.

If you would like to know Arizona’s daily cash balance visit the Treasurer’s Office web site, or if you want more frequent updates and commentary you can follow me on Facebook or on Twitter.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Sincerely,
Doug Ducey

Doug Ducey

Download the Q1 2013 edition of Inside the Vault.

The Actual Costs of Expanding Medicaid in Arizona – What Really Happened

The main argument being made to expand Medicaid dependency in Arizona is “to do the math.” Well the Texas Public Policy Foundation did the  math for what really happened in Arizona the last time Medicaid was expanded and here is the graph depicting the cost to Arizona. These numbers cover a six-year period beginning in 2002 and ending in 2008.

Medicaid Expansion

The actual cost of expanding Medicaid in Arizona

Here is the article posted on the Texas Public Policy Foundation website:

This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on 3/21/2013. 

If state lawmakers really want a clear picture of what Medicaid expansion under Obamacare will look like, they should start with Arizona, where expansion was tried more than a decade ago — with disastrous results.

In 2000, Arizona received a federal waiver to extend Medicaid to all childless adults and parents earning less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level. This is nearly the same group that would be eligible for Medicaid under the federal health care law, except that Obamacare would include those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, a slightly larger group.

At the time, Arizona lawmakers and expansion advocates promised that expanding Medicaid would lower the uninsured rate, reduce uncompensated care costs, decrease the “hidden tax” on private insurance for uncompensated care, and save about $30 million a year in state funds.

These same promises — lower uninsured rate and reduced uncompensated care costs — are being made by those calling for Medicaid expansion in other states.

None of the promises came true. In fact, the opposite happened. Enrollment of parents was more than triple what was forecast, while enrollment of childless adults was more than double.

As a result, costs skyrocketed. Spending per enrollee was much higher than anticipated, especially among childless adults, who proved to be twice as expensive to cover as parents. By 2008, Arizona had spent $8.4 billion on Medicaid expansion — more than four times what had been forecast.

What about the promise that expansion would lower the uninsured rate? In 2002, about 18.7 percent of Arizona’s non-elderly population was uninsured. By 2011, that group had actually increased to 19.4 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of Arizonans with private insurance dropped from 61.8 percent to 55.5 percent, while Medicaid enrollment grew far beyond what had been predicted.

When the recession hit in 2008, Arizona faced a budget shortfall and scaled back Medicaid benefits for childless adults, including organ transplantation. It later froze enrollment for that group, which dropped from 227,000 to 86,000.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s January announcement that she will support the Obamacare Medicaid expansion should not have come as a surprise. Arizona’s waiver expires in 2013, and the state had no choice but to go along with expansion. If it did not, the feds would likely not renew the state’s waiver, which would force some 86,000 people out of the Medicaid program and into the ranks of the uninsured.

The Arizona experience is not unique. In 2002, Maine implemented an almost identical Medicaid expansion — with almost identical results. Within two years, enrollment was more than double what had been forecast, with childless adults costing more than four times as much as parents. Between 2002 and 2011, the uninsured rate remained the same, while the share of those with private insurance shrank, from 66 percent to 59 percent.

Proponents of Medicaid expansion claim it will reduce the uninsured rate and therefore reduce uncompensated care costs. The hope and expectation is that federal expansion dollars will free up state funds and relieve taxpayers, much like advocates of expansion hoped for Arizona and Maine.

Earlier this month, Methodist Health Care Ministries and Texas Impact published an estimate of Medicaid expansion savings. At first glance the figures are impressive; some $900 million in state funds could be freed up for the upcoming biennium, according to the report. The groups’ earlier study claimed counties and local taxpayers could expect relief from having to pay for uncompensated care costs, which the report said would decrease dramatically with Medicaid expansion.

But these projections are in fact nothing more than thin hopes. In Arizona, uncompensated care costs increased by an average of nine percent each year after expansion, and in Maine charity care rose from $40 million in 2000 to $215 million 2011.

Other states that have toyed with expansion — Delaware, Oregon, Michigan, Utah — have all had similar experiences: costs and enrollment exceeded expectations, uninsured rates stayed the same or increased, and the number of people on private insurance shrank.

If states are the incubators and laboratories of public policy, then the results of decade-long experiments with Medicaid expansion are in. In Arizona, Maine, and everywhere expansion was tried, none of the promised benefits materialized.

If lawmakers in other states choose to go down the road of expansion, they now know what to expect: skyrocketing costs, huge enrollment growth, a static uninsured rate, and more — not fewer — uncompensated care costs. Just ask Arizona.