Washington, D.C. – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last week signed a budget that will leave approximately 47,000 low-income children without any health coverage and cut more than 300,000 individuals from the state Medicaid program. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today expressed his strong disagreement with the move and contrasted those cuts with Sunday’s historic Congressional vote in favor of health care reform.
“Unfortunately, the different priorities of the Democratic and Republican parties are on full display here,” Grijalva said. “Democrats have just made health insurance affordable and equitable for 32 million more Americans even as Gov. Brewer and the Arizona legislature pass deep statewide cuts. A clearer or more disturbing contrast is hard to imagine.”
The cuts mean Arizona will not be eligible for federal matching grants, a result Grijalva called “nothing less than tragic.” He questioned why Brewer’s budget cuts were weighted so heavily toward health care and education, two of the most fundamental public services for every state.
“This budget is a clearly marked road to ruin,” Grijalva said. “An undereducated, medically insecure Arizona is not on any road to recovery, whatever the governor may say. Health care and education are not negotiable services to be granted and taken away based on political ideology. They are the backbone of a functioning society. With this budget, the state signals a troubling indifference to the fate of its children, workers and families.”
Grijalva said he would work to counteract the worst effects of the budget, and called on state legislators to consider the longer-term effects of the new law.
“A short-term solution on paper is not the same as real leadership,” Grijalva said. “Before long, the people of Arizona will wonder why the state no longer serves them or meets their needs. These budget cuts will ultimately carry a sky-high price tag.”