Special Interests Bullying Innovative Competitors

It’s always bad when an entrenched, politically-connected special interest tries to use force to bully innovative competitors and drive them out of the marketplace.  It’s even worse when those same special interests blatantly lie to do so.

InnovationThe rideshare industry in Arizona is innovative, uses new and impressive technology, and provides customers with a new – and cheaper – method of transportation.  HB 2262 would provide a proper and fair regulatory structure for ridesharing companies and prevent government interference from crippling these innovative job creators with regulations that do not fit the services they provide.

However, opponents of this bill have resorted to lies and deception to ensure their politically-connected monopoly continues.  They have spent countless time spreading the falsehood that rideshare company drivers are not properly insured and are dangerous – which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Drivers for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are more insured and more heavily vetted than the cab drivers you see on the streets of Phoenix – by far.  Grassroots activists cannot allow an innovative job creator to be forced out of existence through lies and intimidation.

Please contact the following members of the Arizona Legislature and let them know the conservative grassroots believes we should be encouraging innovators who create jobs and economic prosperity in Arizona!

The rideshare industry in Arizona is innovative, uses new and impressive technology, and provides customers with a new – and cheaper – method of transportation.  HB 2262 would provide a proper and fair regulatory structure for ridesharing companies and prevent government interference from crippling these innovative job creators with regulations that do not fit the services they provide.

However, opponents of this bill have resorted to lies and deception to ensure their politically-connected monopoly continues.  They have spent countless time spreading the falsehood that rideshare company drivers are not properly insured and are dangerous – which couldn’t be further from the truth.

UberLyftDrivers for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are more insured and more heavily vetted than the cab drivers you see on the streets of Phoenix – by far.  Grassroots activists cannot allow an innovative job creator to be forced out of existence through lies and intimidation.

Please contact the following members of the Arizona Legislature and let them know the conservative grassroots believes we should be encouraging innovators who create jobs and economic prosperity in Arizona!

Then, please click HERE to ask your senator and representatives to pass this legislation and send it up to the Governor’s desk!

If you would like to engage on the rest of AFP-Arizona’s priority agenda, please go to our main ACTION PAGE to learn how you can help on all the individual issues we are working on.

Help us keep up the fight!

I hope you’ll continue to stand with us as we fight for the interests of Arizona taxpayers, consumers and producers!

For Liberty,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity

“Shame On” Campaigns – Union Intimidation & Shakedowns

Ever wonder about those “shame on” campaigns around town? Watch this video and witness how unions use this tactic to shakedown businesses.

If it can happen in Colorado, it can happen in Arizona.

h/t to KC3CO

Americans for Prosperity – Arizona: Legislative Action for Week of February 3

Americans for Prosperity-Arizona

The week of February 3, three of AFP-Arizona’s key bills will be in committee. Please use the information and links below to take action TODAY.

HB 2260 — The Small Business Bill of Rights

HB 2260, sponsored by Rep. Tom Forese, will be heard by the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday, February 5 at 10:00 am. It would create a list of protections for all business owners and require regulatory enforcement agencies to publicize them.  (Thanks to NFIB-Arizona for pushing for this important bill!)  We need to protect Arizona job creators from government regulatory assault, so please take the following two actions today:

1) Use THIS LINK to call or email the members of the House Commerce Committee,
and ask them to support HB 2260, the Small Business Bill of Rights.

2) Use THIS LINK to email the legislators in your district, and ask them to support HB 2260, the Small Business Bill of Rights, when it comes to a floor vote.

HB 2508 — Criminal Background Checks for ObamaCare Navigators

HB 2508, sponsored by Rep. Phil Lovas, will be heard by the House Insurance and Retirement Committee on Tuesday, February 4 at 2:00 pm. It would regulate ObamaCare insurance exchange Navigators, by requiring them to undergo criminal background checks and by instituting other privacy protections. These Navigators will have access to very sensitive personal health and financial information of citizens — and many citizens are essentially being forced by ObamaCare to go into the exchanges. Please take the following two actions today:

1) Use THIS LINK to call or email the members of the House Insurance and Retirement Committee, and ask them to support HB 2508 to protect citizens’ personal health and financial information from fraudsters acting as Navigators.

2) Use THIS LINK to email the legislators in your district, and ask them to support HB 2508 when it comes to a floor vote.

HCR 2005 — The “Terminal Patients Compassionate Care Act”

HCR 2005, sponsored by Rep. Phil Lovas, will be heard by the House Reform and Human Services Committee on Thursday, February 6 at 9:00 am. The bill would put a “Terminal Patients Compassionate Care Act” on the 2014 election ballot. If approved by the voters, the reform would allow drug manufacturers to provide investigational drugs, products, or devices to terminally ill patients. No individual should be denied the right to save their own life — and, with this legislation, Arizona would recognize that dying patients have a “Right to Try” treatments that have been deemed safe by the FDA but which have not been granted full FDA approval.  (Thanks to our friends at the Goldwater Institute for coming up with this great idea!)  Please take the following two actions today to support this important health care freedom reform:

1) Use THIS LINK to call or email the members of the House Reform and Human Services Committee, and ask them to support HCR 2005 to protect the rights of terminally ill patients.

2) Use THIS LINK to email the legislators in your district, and ask them to support HCR 2005 when it comes to a floor vote.

And here are even more ways to take action:

1) Register in support of the bills. If you do not already have an account with the ALIS system, you will need to come down to the Capitol to set up an account at one of the several kiosks (after you sign up, you will be able to voice your opinion on bills from the comfort of your home). For help getting set up with an ALIS account, contact Bill Fathauer at bfathauer@afphq.org. A member of our legislative team will also be there in advance of the hearing to help anyone who needs to sign in.

2) Attend the committee hearings and testify in support of the bills. If you or someone you know has been personally affected by an issue being raised in committee, you can attend the hearing in person and tell your story. Requesting to speak also requires setting up an ALIS account in person if you do not already have one (see #1 above), but after that it is very easy to request to speak at any time from your home computer or a mobile device.

3) Forward this email to family members. After you’re done lobbying your legislators yourselves, please forward this email onto your friends and family — or anyone else you know — and show them how they can be a part of the process. Every new voice helps!

Thank you for all you do to help win free-market victories for the people of Arizona. I hope you’ll continue to stand with us going forward!

Americans for Prosperity Arizona Kicks Off Healthcare Tour in Flagstaff

HCT-Flagstaff

Please join the Arizona Chapter of Americans for Prosperity as we kick off our statewide summer tour, Preparing for Obamacare, on Wednesday, July 24th in Flagstaff!

Northern Arizona University College Republicans will host this special event on the campus of NAU at the Cline Library Assemby Hall beginning at 6 PM.

This tour stop will feature a viewing of the documentary Sick and Sicker followed by a discussion with a physician and public policy expert on Obamacare.

This is your opportunity to learn what to expect and how to prepare yourself and your family for the implementation of Obamacare.

The event is unpriced (free) and open to the public but seating is limited.

We encourage you to mark your calendar, make your reservations and bring a family member or friend to the event!

See you in Flagstaff!

Register

 

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

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

Americans for Prosperity Foundation – Arizona Releases 2013 Local Government Scorecard

Americans for Prosperity Foundation - Arizona

AFPF-Arizona’s Local Government Scorecard for the 2013 fiscal year (its 6th annual local scorecard) covers 106 Arizona cities, counties and special-purpose taxing districts, and 670 local officials.  The Scorecard grades local officials on overall budgets, property tax levies and sales tax changes, and includes yearly scores for current officials going back to the 2008 fiscal year, as well as cumulative averages.  AFPF-Arizona’s Local Government Scorecard for the 2013 fiscal year comes out at a time when many local governments in Arizona are finalizing tax and budget plans for the 2014 fiscal year. View the scorecard at this link: http://americansforprosperityfoundation.com/arizona/legislativealerts/1000-2/

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.

 

Rep. John Kavanagh: Medicaid Expansion is a Massive Takeover of Health Care in Arizona

State Representative John Kavanagh appeared on Sunday Square Off with Brahm Resnik this morning standing firm against expanding Medicaid dependency in Arizona. Thank you Representative Kavanagh for standing for health care freedom, doctor-patient relationships and protecting Arizona taxpayers!

Provider Taxes: The Medicaid Funding Scam

Medicaid is a complex and burdensome system, nationally covering 55 million low-income individuals, and costing taxpayers $400 billion per year. Watch the video below to find out how states work with providers to fleece federal taxpayers – that’s You! – by using “provider taxes” as an excuse to increase funding.

#SayNOtoMedicaidDependency