As a state, Arizona is facing one of the nation's most serious economic crises. In 2011 Gov. Jan Brewer passed a $538 million corporate tax cut plan that will significantly reduce the state government's ability to help working families and meet health care needs. At the same time, the state has substantially changed its Medicaid program, known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). Major changes include:
- Effectively eliminating the childless adult coverage program
- Freezing enrollment by certain parents
- Creating a more burdensome AHCCCS coverage renewal process
- Establishing mandatory co-payments for children and adults
- Eliminating certain emergency services
- Creating penalties for missed appointments
- Eliminating non-emergency medical transportation
These cuts have not been without consequences for Arizona's health and economic prosperity.
According to a study by Arizona State University, the first year of this reduced Medicaid funding likely reduced employment statewide by approximately 30,000 jobs. Real "Gross State Product" will be lower by approximately $2.5 billion (compared to making no changes), real disposable income will be lower by approximately $1.35 billion and the Arizona population will be lower by approximately 8,200.
According to a separate analysis by Families USA, "In Arizona, nursing home costs average $64,600 a year, and 63 percent of Arizona’s nursing home residents rely on Medicaid to pay for their nursing home care. [. . .] Many people who need long-term care exhaust their savings to the point that they become eligible for Medicaid. For 96,000 seniors and 154,100 people with disabilities in Arizona, Medicaid is a critical source of coverage for long-term care, often the only avenue they have to get the care they need."
Rep. Grijalva has opposed this attack on the state health care system and continues to lead the opposition at the federal level. You can read his series of letters to policymakers here or at http://grijalva.house.gov/letters-oversight/.
February 4, 2011 - Letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius encouraging her to reject proposed cuts to Arizona's Medicaid program
March 4, 2011 - Letter to Cindy Mann, Director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, requesting a 90-day public comment period before any Arizona Medicaid cuts take effect.
May 4, 2011 - Letter to Cindy Mann on the need to reject Arizona's request for a waiver to freeze Medicaid enrollment and reduce existing benefit rolls
June 27, 2011 - Letter to Secretary Sebelius and Medicare/Medicaid Administrator Don Berwick stressing Congress' intent that Medicaid eligibility not be reduced at the state level
December 16, 2011 - Letter to Cindy Mann, Director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, asking for an explanation of how Arizona's Medicaid waiver request will impact medical service for Native American communities
February 2, 2012 - Letter to Cindy Mann, Director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, urging her to establish a Volunteer Donation Program and Safety Net Care Pool to help Arizonans afford medical care
To see Southern Arizona's immediate benefits from the Affordable Care Act, widely known as "health care reform," click here.
To visit the Medicare Web site, click here.
To see the economic impacts of state-level Medicaid cuts in Arizona, click here.
To see the impacts of Medicaid cuts to Arizona seniors, click here.
Medicare en Español aqui.
Los Impactos del Plan Republicano de Medicare aqui.