Alliance Defending Freedom: Deception, distortion on SB 1062 results in veto

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Doug Napier regarding Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision Wednesday to veto SB 1062, a bill the state legislature recently passed to clarify Arizona’s 1999 Religious Freedom Restoration Act and bring it into conformity with federal law:

“Freedom loses when fear overwhelms facts and a good bill is vetoed. Today’s veto enables the foes of faith to more easily suppress the freedom of the people of Arizona. Even though the battle has become more difficult, Alliance Defending Freedom stands ready to defend any Arizonan who suffers the indignity of religious discrimination.

Read Statement.

Cathi Herrod’s statement on the veto of SB 1062

PHOENIX – “Today’s veto of SB 1062 marks a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty.

SB 1062 passed the legislature for one reason only: to guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith.

Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits. Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist.

When the force of government compels one to speak or act contrary to their conscience, the government injures not only the dignity of the afflicted, but the dignity of our society as a whole.

SB 1062 made certain that governmental laws cannot force people to violate their faith unless it has a compelling governmental interest–a balancing of interests that has been in federal law since 1993.

The religious beliefs of all Arizonans must be respected and this bill did nothing more than affirm that. It is truly a disappointing day in our state and nation when lies and personal attacks can over shadow the truth.”

Governor Jan Brewer: Arizona to Keep Grand Canyon Open Amid Continued Federal Inaction

Governor authorizes state funding for additional 9 days           

            PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer today announced the State of Arizona will continue funding Grand Canyon National Park in light of the continued federal government shutdown.

“Grand Canyon’s importance to Arizona’s tourism industry and overall economy cannot be ignored,” said Governor Brewer. “While I am pleased the state is able to ensure the Canyon remains open during this critical season, it is well past time for the federal government to end this shutdown and pay its bills. We are doing our job. It’s time the President and Congress do theirs.”

On Friday, the governor negotiated an agreement to reopen Grand Canyon for up to at least seven days using state and local monies. Under the terms of the agreement, the State of Arizona is paying $93,000 per day to the National Park Service to fully fund park operations. Governor Brewer today authorized the use of state dollars from the Arizona Office of Tourism to continue funding the Canyon for up to an additional nine days, through October 27, if the federal budget stalemate in Washington persists. If the shutdown ends prior to then, Arizona will be refunded for any unspent days.

Visitors to Arizona’s national parks have spent an average of $2.5 million a day during October in recent years – $1.2 million per day at Grand Canyon National Park alone.

The State of Arizona will seek support from members of its congressional delegation to authorize federal reimbursement of any state dollars expended to fund park operations during the shutdown.

More Political Backlash from the Arizona Medicaid Expansion Vote

A Maricopa County delegation from Arizona’s first legislative district recently voted to condemn their state senator for his vote on Medicaid expansion.

In a unanimous vote, the LD-1 Republicans precinct committeemen issued the following strong rebuke:

On June 17th, Republican Precinct Committeemen at Legislative District 1 MC voted unanimously to condemn Senator Pierce’s actions regarding the Medicaid Expansion, a vote of “No Confidence” as follows: 

We move that LD1 express a vote of no confidence in our LD1 Senator Steve Pierce who overwhelmingly and completely voted with Democrats regarding the Medicaid expansion and amendments (some are saying up to 50 times) in opposition to his fellow Republican senators, constituents, and party platform.

In total, five state senators and nine state representatives aligned with big government Democrats to vote for the Obamacare provision of Medicaid expansion.

Don’t be surprised if more Republican grassroots officials and organizations issue condemnations of these 14 legislators and the governor.

At the same time Sonoran Alliance encourages these same organizations to issue praise and appreciation to those legislators who voted against the Obamacare provision of Medicaid expansion.

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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Was Gov. Brewer’s decision to call a special session to deal with the budget and Medicaid the right thing to do?

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.

Update on Obamacare-Medicaid Expansion in Arizona

Here’s a brief update on the push to expand Medicaid in the Arizona Legislature.

Rumors are circulating that Senator John McComish is attempting to orchestrate a coup d’état on Senate President Andy Biggs as former Senate President Steve Pierce looks on with plausible deniability. Why a coup? Because Senate President Andy Biggs is the one individual holding firm against a vote on Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in the State Senate. Both McComish and Pierce are supporting Governor Brewer and trying to pave the way for her Medicaid plan. But you should also know that McComish and especially Pierce took thousands of dollars from higher-ups in the healthcare industrial complex during the last election cycle. (Biggs did not.) We are compiling the names and amounts of all the donations received by Medicaid proponents with the goal of connecting the dots. Just another example of the corporate-political incest (yes, it happens on both sides.)

Meanwhile in the State House, Governor Brewer does NOT have the votes to pass her Medicaid expansion. Proponents of Medicaid expansion are short the votes needed to require both a simple majority and two-thirds vote (Prop 108 requirement). House Speaker Andy Tobin is also holding back a vote on the legislation so you can imagine he is under tremendous pressure to let the legislation move for a vote.

At the same time all this is taking place, Democrats are getting very irritated with an effort to amend any legislation to prohibit our tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood. (We all know that giving money to Planned Parenthood is an accounting game that allows them to free up other funds for abortions.) Democrats want the Medicaid bill to remain silent on tax dollars to abortion providers because they know Planned Parenthood would be feasting off the same steady stream of tax dollars “returning” from the federal government. In fact, House minority leader and likely Democrat gubernatorial candidate Chad Campbell sent an email out today expressing frustration, covering for abortion providers and urging individuals to call their legislators. His rhetoric has heated up calling social and religious conservatives “extremists,” “right-wing” and “special interests” all because they oppose using tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood.

Keep your eyes on the players in this whole exercise of corporate cronyism and who stands to gain the most “free” tax dollars.

Poll: Obamacare Medicaid in Arizona

Republican Primary Voters Weigh In on Medicaid Expansion for Arizona

Round two of a recent poll is now out and there are some revealing numbers on how Republican primary voters feel about Governor Brewer’s push to expand Medicaid in Arizona Senator Jeff Flake and several legislative districts. Here are those results:

This memorandum is an executive summary of an automated voice recorded survey of 718 likely Republican primary voters in six legislative districts in Arizona. The legislative districts surveyed were 13, 17, 18, 20, 25 and 28. The interviews were conducted March 27th and 28th, 2013. This survey has a margin of error of +/-­‐ 3.65% at the 95 percent confidence interval. This survey was weighted based upon past Republican primary voter demographics. The focus of this survey was to measure Republican primary voter opinions regarding the expansion of Medicaid, the implementation of Obamacare, as well as voter reaction to their state legislator’s support or opposition to Medicaid expansion. The survey toplines are also included with this document.

GOVERNOR BREWER IMAGE RATING

Among Republican primary voters in the six legislative districts, Governor Brewer has a very strong image rating with 69% of voters having a favorable opinion of her, 23% having an unfavorable opinion of her, and 8% being undecided or not having an opinion.

SENATOR FLAKE IMAGE RATING

Senator Jeff Flake also has a very strong image rating among Republican primary voters in the six legislative districts, with 70% of voters having a favorable opinion of him, 18% having an unfavorable opinion of him, and 12% being undecided or not having an opinion.

GOP PRIMARY VOTER SUPPORT FOR THE EXPANSION OF MEDICAID

Republican primary voters in the six legislative districts were asked if they support Governor Brewer’s proposal to expand Medicaid in order to fully implement the federal government’s health care system in 2014. Among all respondents, 30% support the expansion of Medicaid, 51% oppose expansion, and 19% are either unsure or do not have an opinion about the issue. The following table shows responses by legislative district.

“As you may know, Governor Brewer has proposed the expansion of Medicaid in Arizona in order to fully implement the federal government’s health care system in 2014. Knowing this, do you support or oppose the expansion of Medicaid in order to implement the federal government’s health care system?”

Medicaid GOP Primary 1

 

VOTER OPPOSITION FOR LEGISLATORS WHO VOTE TO EXPAND MEDICAID

To measure voter reactions if their state legislator voted to expand Medicaid, the following question was asked:

“Would you be more or less likely to vote to reelect your state legislator if they voted for the expansion of Medicaid?”

Medicaid GOP Primary 2

 

Not surprisingly, among Republican primary voters in the six legislative districts a majority, or 53% are less likely to reelect their legislator if they voted to expand Medicaid and only 22% would be more likely to vote for their state legislator. When looking at the results by legislative district, the percentage of voters that are less likely to reelect their state legislator ranges from a low of 37% to a high of 69%.

GOP PRIMARY VOTER SUPPORT FOR TAX INCREASE TO FUND MEDICAID EXPANSION

In addition to measuring Republican primary voter’s reactions toward their state legislators if they voted to expand Medicaid, the survey tested voter reaction to a tax increase on hospitals to fund the expansion of Medicaid. Again, it is no surprise that Republican primary voters vigorously oppose this idea and do not want their legislators supporting a new tax on hospitals to fund the expansion of Medicaid. Among all respondents in the six legislative districts, only 11% would be more likely to vote to reelect their legislator, and two thirds, or 68%, would not vote to reelect their legislator. In short, if an incumbent voted for such a proposal it would be toxic for their reelection. The following table shows the question responses by legislative district.

“Would you be more or less likely to vote to reelect your state legislator if they voted for a new tax on hospitals to fund the expansion of Medicaid?”

Medicaid GOP Primary 3

 

CONCLUSION

Among the likely Republican primary voters surveyed in these six legislative districts, it is clear they oppose the expansion of Medicaid by varying degrees from a plurality of 42% to a large majority of 62%. Support for Medicaid expansion ranges from a high of 35% to a low of 26%. The survey also finds a plurality, or a majority, of Republican primary voters would be less likely to vote for their legislator if they voted to expand Medicaid in all six legislative districts. Finally, the information in this research should be of concern to incumbent legislators as they consider how to handle this issue.

View/Download the entire report including the topline results.

New Poll Reflects Voter Opinion on Governor Brewer, Legislators on Expanding Medicaid in Arizona

Sonoran Alliance has obtained a recent poll that was conducted in Arizona on the latest public policy issue being debated among Arizonans – Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid in Arizona. This poll demonstrates the current attitude toward Governor Brewer, Legislators and the implementation of Obamacare. Magellan Strategies conducted the poll at the end of March. Here are the results of the poll:

ARIZONA MEDICAID EXPANSION SURVEY AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS

This memorandum is an executive summary of an automated voice recorded survey of 812 Arizona registered voters. The survey was conducted on March 27th and 28th and has a margin of error of 3.44% at the 95% confidence interval. The focus of this survey was to measure voter opinion regarding the expansion of Medicaid, the implementation of Obamacare, as well as voter reaction to their state legislator’s support or opposition to Medicaid expansion. The survey toplines are also included with this document.

GOVERNOR BREWER IMAGE RATING

Among all voters, Governor Brewer has a respectable net‐positive image rating with 49% of respondents having a favorable opinion of her, 40% having an unfavorable opinion of her, and 11% being undecided or not having an opinion. She is more popular among male voters than female voters, with 53% of men having a favorable opinion of her compared to 46% of women having a favorable opinion of her. Among senior voters aged 65 or older, 52% have a favorable opinion of her and 39% have an unfavorable opinion of her.

VOTER SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION FOR THE EXPANSION OF MEDICAID

When voters are asked if they support Governor Brewer’s proposal to expand Medicaid in order to fully implement the federal government’s health care system in 2014, we find opinion almost evenly split. Among all respondents, 41% support the expansion of Medicaid, 37% oppose expansion, and 22% are either unsure or have no opinion about the issue. There are significant differences in support for expansion by party, with only 25% of Republicans supporting expansion compared to 62% of Democrats supporting expansion. “Independent” voters are split on the issue with 37% supporting expansion, 35% opposing expansion, and 28% are either unsure or have no opinion about the issue. The following table shows Medicaid expansion support and opposition by voter subgroup.

“As you may know, Governor Brewer has proposed the expansion of Medicaid in Arizona in order to fully implement the federal government’s health care system in 2014. Knowing this, do you support or oppose the expansion of Medicaid in order to implement the federal government’s health care system?”

Arizona Medicaid Poll 1

ARIZONA VOTER SUPPORT FOR FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF OBAMACARE

When comparing voter support for Medicaid expansion to the full implementation of Obamacare, it is clear the full implementation of Obamacare has far less support than Medicaid expansion. While the issue of Medicaid expansion is nearly split among Arizona voters (41% support/37% oppose), 58% of all voters oppose the full implementation of Obamacare and a majority of those voters, 51%, strongly oppose the full implementation of Obamacare. Looking at the responses to this question by party, a whopping 87% of Republican voters oppose the full implementation of Obamacare and only 10% support it. Among Democrat voters, a plurality of 44% support full implementation of Obamacare and 35% oppose it. Among independent voters, two thirds, or 62%, oppose full implementation of Obamacare and 34% support full implementation.

VOTER SUPPORT FOR LEGISLATORS WHO VOTE TO EXPAND MEDICAID

To measure voter reactions if their state legislator voted to expand Medicaid, the following question was asked:

“Would you be more or less likely to vote to reelect your state legislator if they voted for the expansion of Medicaid?”

Arizona Medicaid Poll 2

Not surprisingly, 63% of Republican voters would be less likely to vote for their state legislator if they voted to expand Medicaid and only 17% would be more likely to vote for their state legislator. Among Democrat voters, a plurality, or 47%, would be more likely to vote for their legislator if their legislator voted to expand Medicaid, and 30% would be less likely. Among independent voters, 28% would be more likely to vote for their legislator, 34% would be less likely and 38% were either unsure or did not have an opinion.

VOTER SUPPORT FOR TAX INCREASE TO FUND MEDICAID EXPANSION

In addition to measuring voter’s reactions toward their state legislators if they voted to expand Medicaid, the survey tested voter reaction for a tax increase on hospitals to fund the expansion of Medicaid. As the data in the table below indicates, voters do not want their legislators supporting a new tax on hospitals to fund Medicaid. Among all respondents, 57% would be less likely to vote for their state legislator, and among Republican voters, 72% would be less likely to vote for their legislator.

“Would you be more or less likely to vote to reelect your state legislator if they voted for a new tax on hospitals to fund the expansion of  Medicaid?”

Arizona Medicaid Poll 3

CONCLUSION

Among all Arizona voters, 41% support Governor Brewer’s effort to expand Medicaid in order to implement the federal government’s health care system by 2014, and 37% of voters oppose it. Among Republican voters, 57% oppose expansion and only 25% support it. In addition, 63% of Republican respondents indicated that they would be less likely to vote for their state legislator if they voted to expand Medicaid. These two data points should be a cause for concern among Republican legislators when considering how to vote on this issue. Republican legislators that support Medicaid expansion could make themselves vulnerable to a primary challenge.

View/Download the entire report including the topline results.

 

Governor Jan Brewer Overreacted In Firing of Joey Strickland

Terri Proud, a former legislator, claims that she was taken out of context in an article that   appeared in the Arizona Daily Star, written by a student at the University of Arizona.  The backlash to this single article resulted in the well-respected director of The Arizona Department of Veteran’s Services being asked to resign by the Governor and sent a shock wave through the veterans community.

Proud claims the “student journalist” misrepresented herself as from the Arizona Daily Star and took her comments out of context. Proud is not against women serving in combat and simply posed a valid question as to how the military would accommodate women in combat, when the VA is still struggling to accommodate women vets.

Proud claims her comments were not conveyed correctly, “Regardless of the reason, the result devastated the life of Col. Joey Strickland who did not deserve such careless treatment. The Governor’s office should check facts before drawing conclusions.”

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Strickland has been a strong supporter for veterans. As one Tucson vet put it, “Strickland has been our go-to guy whenever we needed help and his sudden removal is disturbing.”

Proud commented, “If the Governor has it out for me, or has something against former legislators finding jobs, then I was not aware of it until now. As a legislator, I met the Governor only once.” Her office did not contact Proud for comment on the April 2nd article prior to requesting Strickland’s resignation only a day after it was published.

Proud has been a vocal advocate for women while in the legislature. It was her bill that found support for homeless women vets. Nobody wants to talk about real issues facing women. Women vets have had a difficult time in Arizona; it’s not all VA centers that even offer health care for women vets. A subject that most don’t usually hear or talk about, but a reality for women vets today. Everyone should be concerned about the double standards in existence.

Strickland was an avid supporter for Arizona homeless vets and helped open many  veterans homes in the state, he was concerned and worked on issues affecting disabled vets as well as elderly vets and Native American veterans.

The position offered to Proud at Veteran Services was as an administrative assistant in the Military Relief  Family Fund, Homeless Veterans and Overseeing Women Conferences. It paid $40,000 per year.

Proud is asking the public to support Strickland who was appointed to the post by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano and who helped establish Arizona as the most veteran supportive state in the union for education, jobs and wellness. He is very highly respected for his 29 honorable years of service to his country in the United States Army and for his service as director of The Arizona Department of Veteran’s Services. Strickland should not have been removed, Brewer overreacted.  Contact the Governor’s office at (602) 542-4331 to let them know Strickland should be brought back.

###

The Cost of Expanding Medicaid Dependency in Arizona

Unlink Governor Brewer’s media campaign funded by huge corporations and special interest groups, the opposition to expanding Medicaid dependency in Arizona is almost entirely grassroots driven – and there’s good reason for the disparity. The Arizona Medical Industrial Complex stands to gain hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars. This begs the question, “just how much will Medicaid expansion cost Arizona taxpayers?”

Here are two graphics provided by the prestigious conservative organization The Heritage Foundation. Please feel free, to download these and email them to your legislators.

Before the legislature attempts to pass a huge tax on Arizonans, they need to remember Arizona’s Constitution requires a 2/3 majority vote to pass any tax hike. Currently, the Governor would like to redefine the hundreds of millions of dollars as needed as a fee in order to avoid the 2/3′s  requirement. Any legislator needs to know they will be violating the Arizona Constitution if they pass this huge tax hike without the 2/3′s requirement.

CP-medicaid-expansion-by-state-AZ Medicaid Expansion US

 

If you would like to have Americans for Prosperity speak to your organization about why expanding Medicaid dependency is bad for Arizona please contact Americans for Prosperity through www.ArizonaTaxpayers.org.

Maricopa GOP Votes Down Medicaid Expansion in Arizona

March, 2013

A RESOLUTION OF THE EXECUTIVE GUIDANCE COMMITTEE (EGC) OF THE MARICOPA COUNTY REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE (MCRC) MARICOPA COUNTY, STATE OF ARIZONA

IN OPPOSITION TO

THE ARIZONA GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED EXPANSION OF MEDICAID (AHCCCS) IN SUPPORT OF OBAMACARE

WHEREAS, Arizona voters clearly expressed their will to reject implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the individual mandate by amending the Arizona Constitution in 2010 via the Arizona Health Insurance Reform Amendment, Proposition 106; and

WHEREAS, the “circuit breaker” clause is insufficient to prevent out of control escalation of enrollment and the long term costs will cause severe financial hardship on Arizona’s budget; and

WHEREAS, the “assessment” on hospitals is actually a tax and a disingenuous attempt to subvert Arizona’s Constitution and legislative process requiring tax increases receive supermajority approval in the legislature; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court ruled that each State may reject the expansion of Medicaid and Insurance Exchanges, the two cornerstones of Obamacare, without which it collapses; and

WHEREAS, the best method to honor Arizona voters’ wishes to reject Obamacare is for each State to refuse implementation and allow Obamacare to fail; and

WHEREAS, supporting a government takeover of Arizona’s health care system, even to secure large amounts of federal funds, does not reflect the values of the Republican Party or the interests of the taxpayers of Arizona.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, Maricopa County, State of Arizona, does affirm and declare our opposition to the Governor’s plan to expand Medicaid; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, Maricopa County, State of Arizona, demands that the Arizona State Legislators uphold the rule of law set forth by Proposition 108 requiring a supermajority vote in this matter; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED by the Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, Maricopa County, State of Arizona, demands that the Arizona State Legislators stand with the people of Arizona in opposition to the Governor’s plan to expand Medicaid by defeating any bill to such ends.

Author: Eric Morgan, Chairman, LD22 Republican Committee

PASSED & APPROVED this 7th day of March 2013, by a vote of 26 (ayes) to 2 (nays) to 0 (abstentions) of the Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, Maricopa County, State of Arizona.

MARICOPA COUNTY REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE

MARICOPA COUNTY, STATE OF ARIZONA:

A. J. LaFaro

________________________________________

by: A. J. LaFaro, Chairman

Maricopa County Republican Committee

[Download Resolution]

STOP Medicaid Expansion in Arizona!

Americans for Prosperity - Arizona

IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT!

To all Arizona Taxpayers and Health Care Consumers,

First, please register now for AFP-Arizona’s debate on the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion, which will take place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday, February 21 at the Goldwater Institute. To register, send an email here (For more info about the debate, scroll down.)

Gov. Jan Brewer and powerful lobbyists are pushing Arizona to impose statewide taxes, including a hospital bed tax, to fund an expansion of Medicaid (AHCCCS) under ObamaCare. It is vitally important for Arizona to stop the proposed Medicaid expansion, because the human and fiscal costs of that expansion would be enormous. TAKE ACTION NOW.

The most important issue in the Medicaid expansion is the human cost. If Arizona were to expand Medicaid, it would railroad at least 250,000 Arizonans into a low-quality, government-managed health insurance system. Medicaid patients not only have worse medical outcomes than patients with private insurance, but often have worse medical outcomes than low-income persons without insurance — even when they have the same medical conditions. Please go to http://tinyurl.com/gottliebwsj to learn more about this important issue.

But the proponents of the expansion are also trying to do an end-run around Prop 108, the most important taxpayer protection ever passed by Arizona voters. Thanks to Prop 108, the Arizona Constitution requires a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to raise taxes. But Medicaid expansion proponents want to allow unelected bureaucrats at AHCCCS to raise state taxes (mainly hospital bed taxes) by $369 million over the next three years — without a two-thirds vote of the Legislature! If Legislators use a simple majority to delegate to bureaucrats the authority to impose gigantic taxes on hospital patients, they will kill Prop 108 and destroy its protections for Arizona taxpayers. If that happens, we will blame those Legislators — not the lawyers and judges who help them carve out a gigantic loophole in Prop 108.

Gov. Brewer told Arizonans to “do the math” on the Medicaid expansion. With all due respect, she should do the same. According to Brewer’s projections, the Arizona Medicaid expansion would cause the (already bankrupt) federal government to spend $3.6 billion over the next three years alone. The people who will pay those taxes include most of the people of Arizona and — thanks to the federal debt — our children and grandchildren.

The current JLBC projection of $325 million per year in tax increases in 2016 (as bad as that is!) hides the actual future cost of the proposed taxes. By 2019, Arizona will have to pick up at least 10 percent of the cost of the expansion, which will be hundreds of millions of additional dollars annually. And the Obama Administration has already proposed several times to shift additional costs of the expansion to the States.

TAKE ACTION!

Please use this link to send a quick and easy email to your Legislators, asking them to resist the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. At the very least, even if they are tempted to engage in short-term thinking and take a bunch of “free” money from Washington, legislators should comply with the voter-imposed constitutional requirement to raise taxes with a two-thirds majority.   

REGISTER FOR THE DEBATE!

Please register now for AFP-Arizona’s debate on the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion, which will take place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday, February 21 at the Goldwater Institute.

At the event, Michael Cannon of  the Cato Institute, Goldwater Institute health care policy analyst Christina Corieri, and Phoenix surgeon Jeff  Singer will take on any three pro-expansion advocates who want to debate these issues publicly. We have extended the invitation to debate to the Brewer Administration, to Brewer advisers Chuck Coughlin and Peter Burns, AHCCCS director Tom Betlach, Democratic Legislators, and members of the hospital and insurance lobbies. All concerned citizens who wish to attend the debate should RSVP here.

LEARN MORE!

For more about the problems with the proposed Medicaid expansion, read AFP-Arizona’s line-by-line refutation of Gov. Brewer’s pro-expansion arguments in her January 14 speech.

For Liberty,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director, Americans for Prosperity

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.

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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.