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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news October 13, 2015

4/1/2013 9:57:00 PM
County votes to support Brewer on Medicaid
Scott Orr
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - The all-Republican Yavapai County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to issue a resolution in favor of Gov. Jan Brewer's support of a major element of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The proposal Brewer, also a Republican, is advocating has met with opposition from within her own party. It's a component of the so-called Obamacare plan that expands Medicaid coverage to people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That's $15,400 for individuals, and it would add 17 million uninsured adults and children nationally to Medicaid.

Brewer's about-face on the issue puts her in the company of some other Republican governors, such as those in Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio, who will go along with the plan.

It calls for the federal government to pick up 100 percent of the tab in 2014, then 95 percent from 2016 to 2019 and 90 percent in 2020.

While 10 other Republican governors said their states won't participate, Brewer said the federal dollars would go to other states that do accept it if Arizona doesn't.

"The Governor's Office contacted Yavapai County last week," Board Chairman Chip Davis said. "She wanted to reach out to the counties so we could also reach out to our legislators, and I felt it was appropriate to get our resolution out first."

Several key officials and community leaders spoke in favor of the plan, including Tim Barnett, President and CEO of Yavapai Regional Medical Center.

"This is a courageous thing (Brewer) is doing in trying to accomplish this for our state," Barnett said. "We at the hospital treat people that have no other options...but what happens is, (the uninsured) show up in our emergency rooms, and that is the most costly and most ineffective way to treat people."

He said the plan would cover "the working poor in our communities, people trying to make a living, trying to make a go of it."

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk told the board that she had testified two weeks ago at the House Appropriations Committee hearing in Phoenix, explaining why she favors the Medicaid expansion.

She said the plan would "make Arizona and Yavapai County a safer place.

"We saw and have seen an increasing impact on our criminal justice system" as a result of a statewide 2011 freeze on enrollment in the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the state's Medicaid program, for the single-childless adult population.

"What we have seen is an increase in the number of individuals who suffer from untreated mental illness who end up in our criminal justice system," she said. The problem, she said, is when they end up in jail, "we treat them, we stabilize them, we address the criminal offense, where they still don't qualify for AHCCCS."

Polk said that leads to a "revolving door, where they decompensate, re-offend, and they're back in our criminal justice system."

"That's terrible," said Chairman Chip Davis.

Sheriff Scott Mascher echoed Polk's comments. "I don't think there's any question that our mental health (treatment) procedures are broken," he said, noting that the YCSO gets phone calls from people saying, "'This person needs help,' but they don't fit into any (indigent care) program."

Supervisor Tom Thurman said Arizona might have to join the plan in any case. "It's mandated that a state accepts and does this program unless they prove they can't afford it.

"I have a lot of friends and constituents who believe this is just catering to the Obama administration, but it is what it is. (Congress) passed it, and the president signed it," he said.

"I just want to make this clear: I, in no way, shape or form support Obamacare," Supervisor Craig Brown said, but he allowed that this particular part would be good for the state.

The board voted 5-0 in favor of drafting a resolution in support of Brewer's plan.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: Give'm Hell Harry

OK, conservative Republicans its time to fire, recall or get rid of your latest crop of (people) that you elected. Time is running out for you guys to find some candidates that will do your bidding. Hurry, before its too late! Obamacare has turned another crop of conservative Republicans into socialist, commie liberals!

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Richard Hennessey II

The spineless five! I expected this from Tom Thurman who isn'rt anymore conservative then Obama or Andy Tobin. But for Craig Brown and Jack Smith to sell their souls and drink the cool aid is disgusting. So much for REAL Conservatives. First who thinks the Federal Goverment is going to pick up the tab and second who funds the Feds???? We The People!!! It's our tax dollars. Well it's good to see our elected officals are holding true to form and lying to us once again

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: @ red dee

ObamaCare hasn't done anything yet. So your blame of ObamaCare is, at best, premature. Premiums have been rising for years and years. That's one of the reasons that health care reform was passed despite the outrage. My wife and I pay, through our small businesses, have been paying $30k a year in health care for employees--before ObamaCare. Your suggestion that heath care was affordable before ObamaCare is, simply, silly.

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: My God the piss-ants are in full flourish!

Geeesh, the Republicon-can'ts-and won'ts are in flull form today! Musta got outa bed, swapped out to a pair of dry depends, and attacked the computer with their usual outrage!

Just a FYI, Brewer and a big company of States, realize the facts. And those facts have proven that expanding Medicaid, (which supports a whole lotta angry old white men in their nursing home blues), under the Affordable Care Act, does acutally save money, versus, those that go for Emergency care under the current 'plan'.

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: Lena Sanchez

The no no attitudes have no understanding of the new Healthcare program and what it does or doesn’t do. The naysayers who don’t want to know about the program and have made it the boogeyman of the country and they don’t want you to know the up side of it outweighs what we had. Having worked conventional medicine for 20+ years and dealt with uninsured and underinsured and Medicaid patients, I can tell you that the Expanded Medicaid program will save the state and country trillions of dollars. It will stop the 35% to 40% insurance company gouging that has been going on for about a dozen years now… I don’t know if the governor understands that but maybe she does as she has accepted it as a good thing… Underinsured and or uninsured patients show up at University connected hospitals – USC, UCLA, Vanderbilt, UAMC, etc. have contracts to treat people and be reimbursed for those services – daily treated and/or hospitalized and tax dollars pay those bills costing US wide tax payers millions of dollars daily and in some of the larger university hospitals trillions of dollars. Using Expanded Medicaid will save the country trillions of dollars and pay for itself in a few short years and on top of that will also pay down about 2 to 3 trillion dollars of the debt that the wars have built up. What is known and economists and hospital administrators at university hospitals say “It will save us trillions of tax dollars monthly.” They have also reached the conclusion that two states – California and Texas – university connected hospital savings will fully pay the cost of the program for the whole country.

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: Captain Howdy

The hospital would prefer to send people to the county health clinic, what they forget is that our tax doars are paying for that too.
I believe that every person has the right to medical treatment. That being said, no matter how you slice it, tax payers pay for medical treatment of people who cannot afford it. The problem with the system is not the fact that people need it. It is the fact that people abuse it.
And I have a first hand example. A person who used to live in Chino Valley worked it construction. Had a family of 5, 3 children and parents. Above the table he was making $12 per hour. Below the table he was making an additional $10 per hour. He boasted how his whole family would go to the county medical facility and how this saved him money.
These are the type if people that need to be reported ( I did anonymously) and prosecuted ( he was not) to the full extent of the law. Thi k of how much money can be saved if only those who really needed help got it?

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: ronald raygun

"I in know way support this program, except for the money, give me the money" LOL

They'll be stealing money from this program with both hands.

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: Red Dee

No! No! No! Don't fund Obamacare on the backs of our taxpayers. We have to STOP funding these progressive, socialist programs that only burden the individual instead of truly helping. Obamacare will RATION healthcare provided to the elderly (oh, you're over the age of 75, need a hip replacement so you aren't in so much pain, but you're not producing anything of benefit for us to take from you, so you don't really deserve the hip replacement), and it will drive doctors out of business. Medicare payments to doctors are already lower than they were 10 years ago (the result of no increases while costs have continued to rise), and malpractice insurance drives up the cost of the office visit and surgeries to the ridiculous levels doctors charge now.

Since Obamacare was passed federally, I have seen my insurance premiums more than double--to the point I can no longer afford the coverage I had before Obamacare! Really??? I'm a healthy woman, don't smoke, don't drink, watch my diet and exercise regularly. I have no health problems and take no chronic medications, but I cannot afford health insurance anymore SINCE Obamacare. Why would that be if this is such a wonderful plan?

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: Sad To See

What a bunch of hipocrites!
They are all caving in to Obama's plan.
The corruption in local government continues.
They say anything to get elected but are no different than the rest once they get in!

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: justa girl in PV

Tom, Tom, where exactly is a free clinic here? What county clinic? Where can these free services be found?
You sound like Ronnie when he closed the half way homes and low cost health and mental health clinics in ca. Churches and family will take care of them. Ya right...
Only it was the legsl system that ended up with the care of these people. Some became criminals, some were victims, some died out on the street.
What good did that do?
You are often so quick with an answer here...
So I am waiting......

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: Dan G


Obama has won.

The greedy pandering elected officials will sign up for it.

Obama will claim poor, cant pay for it.

Who will get blamed for stopping it?

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: Craw Dad

When the feds quit paying, and you all know they will, then we will have to pay. STOP Obamacare now!!!!!!!

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: Craig Arps

Medicaid expansion is the worm. Obamacare is the hook. Any of the supposed benefits will disappear when our state is on the hook for the costs and we know Obamacare is going to radically alter the medical system as we know it, so what good is coverage when the care goes down the tubes? Sad, I actually know and admire some of these men, and they know this, what happened? Is it somehow okay now for the government to take control of the medical system as long as we get some money for programs we think we need? Is there anyone left who will stand on principle, ...

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: Judy B

Anyone who believes that the feds will pick up 90% of this cost by the time 2020 rolls around is a member of the "mentally ill" population. Get a clue. We cannot afford this. People who use the ER as their personal doctors office need to pay at the time of service - before service is given - just like I pay at my doctor's front desk before I see him. It's called personal responsibility. Obamacare is a monstrosity designed to break the back of this nation and any hope of its people being self sufficient.

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

We can thank the ACLU for not being able to care for the mental defective population as they sued the government on institutionalizing patients. And we can blame the feds for mandating all emergency rooms treat every person who seeks care regardless of the problem. Re legislate on these two matters and much of the abuse noted in this article would be removed. If Emergency rooms could triage incoming and send most to free or county clinics this abuse would stop. And care for the mentally handicapped could be addressed without incarceration. And national health care without the control of trial lawyers or labor unions will break the bank.

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