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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials May 22, 2015

11/29/2012 10:01:00 PM
Editorial: Brewer's healthcare choice won't close door
The Daily Courier

As easy as it would be to say that Gov. Jan Brewer's Wednesday decision to reject the creation of a state-run health insurance exchange was a purely political move, she just might be correct in her assessment of the situation.

Let's hope so, considering that, according to House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, "the state has already spent millions of dollars developing the infrastructure to support the exchange," which is a fundamental component of the Affordable Care Act - or Obamacare - which she has opposed from its outset.

She's not alone in her decision. To date, 17 states have rejected the idea of creating an exchange, while 17 other states and the District of Columbia have chosen to opt in.

Brewer's decision does in fact cede more authority to the federal government but, she said, "the state of Arizona would wield little actual authority over its state exchange."

The significance of the authority the governor has given up, though, is arguable. The ACA intends the exchanges to be set up as a means for consumers to shop in one place for the insurance policies that best suit them. Perhaps the most important choice states can make with their own exchanges is to decide which insurance companies will take part. If the individual states choose not to set up an exchange, the federal government will do it, and the consumers' choice of providers will likely lack the local or regional considerations a state-run agency could provide.

On the other hand, not setting up an exchange will eliminate a level of bureaucracy, thus possibly saving some taxpayer money.

Even if the governor had seen some advantages in creating an exchange, she likely could not have moved its implementation through the steadfastly Republican Legislature, which makes her decision more symbolic than decisive.

And it became a bit more obviously political on Thursday when Republican Rep. Carl Seel lauded Brewer's decision and promised to introduce "legislation that will allow Arizona to ultimately opt out of Obamacare."

Opinions, both political and "expert," abound on the necessity, propriety and cost of the ACA, and Brewer's decision will hardly be the last word in the discussion. The fact is that the law at this time requires Arizonans to have access to an exchange and we will at first have the federal system to deal with.

If that system proves unacceptable, this and any other state can develop one in the future, albeit likely without the benefit of the federal money now in the state's coffers.

According to the Associated Press, Brewer's administration spent two years planning for a possible exchange while accepting about $31 million in federal grants to pay for that advance work. Her office says that most of that money remains unspent.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: Obama Care is not a free ride

Think again about people that refused to pay for insurance getting a free ride. It's not going to happen. The threshold of being poor does not change.

If you don't pay for your health insurance you pay a fine.

Obamacare was miss named it should be Romney/McCaincare.

The major plan is fashioned after Romney's plan in Mass. Remember his own state that he kept saying he was so proud of didn't carry him in the end.

The exchange is modeled after the plan John McCain spoke of during his blundered 2008 campaign.

So you see Obamacare is a Republican plan and you still don't trust it. I guess the Republican voters know their party is so very untrustworthy.

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Article comment by: Uninformed... yet writing like he is

@hootyhoo - Listen, I am sick and tired of the know-it-alls bashing the pharmaceutical industry when they don't know what they're talking about. Pharmaceutical drugs researched AND those compounds that eventually make it to market are about 1 in 500 compounds. (The other 499 go by the wayside.) With all the studies done in laboratories, then on animals and then on humans, the cost is close to $1 billion by the time that drug comes to market. Drugs sold in Mexico are generics, that is, they are not researched companies simply replicate the active ingredient (the original drug only has a 20 year patent) and sell them at a fifth of what the original drug sold for. So before you go spouting off like you think you know what you're talking about, I suggest you visit www.innovation.org so you can learn exactly what goes into producing medicines.

Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2012
Article comment by: Great News

This is great news for Arizona the last thing we need is Brewercare. We'll get a better shake from the feds. Have another drink Jan and stay out of it.

Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2012
Article comment by: Governor Who?

This Obama-care has sure caused a pandemic of hyperventilating and hypochondria.

Brewer on Fox could not even remain coherent in answer to questions about opting out for Arizona. I think the old gal should see a doctor and maybe consider stepping down. I'm usually down on her, but this was different from her usual vitriolic style and more her Alzheimer-like performance in the Channel 8 Gov. debate.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Sinking Ship

As Obama likes to say, he got a mandate to do what he wants to do via the vote of the people in the election. Well, so did Brewer. She is the governor of a red state, doing business for her constituents. The divisiveness the Obama administration has created with his continual class warfare rhetoric is dividing us vs bringing us together. No matter what happens with the fiscal cliff, even if Congress backs off completely letting Obama do whatever he likes, Congress will be to blame for ANYTHING that happens in this country. States still have rights, at least for the moment, and Brewer is a governor with a "mandate". She will govern as she sees fit to keep our state in as good a financial situation as possible. ACA will hurt us enough, without the state busting it's budget to implement it.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Former Democrat

I support Brewer because she's trying to do the job that Obama doesn't seem to be able to do or just doesn't care. Seems he sued Arizona and to think some of his supporters live here is totally un-Arizonian to me. Maybe they should move to California before it sinks back into the ocean.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Thank Obama

Her opting out has nothing to do with the constant rise in health care. And if you think Obamacare is going to help this...well I've got news for you. Obamacare is going to raise the costs even more because people who don't pay for their own insurance will have it paid by others who do. Free market will fix this insurance problem. Insurance companies make their money by denying claims. Think about it, they deny a $9000 dollar claim for you and 100,000 other people hoping you won't fight it. But even if you do and you win, they still have kept all that money in the bank earning interest so they can improve their profits. Health insurance companies have an inherent conflict of interest. They cannot serve their client's health and their stock owners at the same time. They should all be not-for-profits. Not to mention that the hospital may charge you $9000 but if the insurance pays it, they only pay a fraction of that cost. Why can't docs and hospitals make individual's those deals??? Brewer did the right thing for AZ but either way, it won't solve this medical care nightmare.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

How will the healthcare insurance exchanges help folks like Opt Out??

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Same old comments by the Same old People

Every day we see our opinion poll filled with the "same people and their same opinions", over and over. Filling up the comment pages with their usual "I'm right and you're wrong" attidue. Give others a chance to speak and take a walk.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: The Other States Can't All Be Wrong

Arizona isn't the only state that dislikes Obamacare and a lot of liberals won't either when it kicks in and they too are "taxed".

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Bagdad Brewer

Not only does she give up states rights she pushes us closer to single payer. What the devil is happening?

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: 60 Grit

I think it's a fairly safe assumption that most people don't even know what a state-run health insurance exchange is (or will be). I don't think the one paragraph inserted into this editorial does the subject justice, but it's a beginning. It's too premature to know for sure, but I'd rather rely on the Feds on this subject rather than hope the gov. sobers up enough to take the needs of the people of AZ seriously.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Dear Mr. Steele

The current "health care" is a mess and debacle right now.

If the rest of the world can take care of the health of all their population at less cost than ours, why can't we?

Are they really that much better than we are?

I don't agree with that contention.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

I'll say again what I've said many times: American healthcare is way more expensive than anywhere else, and the price goes up faster than elsewhere. You can fly to India and have a heart bypass done by a better surgeon than almost anywhere in Arizona for about 10 grand (including airfare). That's cheaper than a lot of cruises for 2. That's all it's worth. Here you'd pay 10 times that. Explain that one for me. Explain why you can get the same drug in Mexico this afternoon for 1/3 the price at Walgreens. It's because Americans are suckers. Other coutries laugh at us. Obamacare does nothing to address this. He's a sucker too.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Mo Mentum

@ Opt Out? - if we get the government out of the private sector, like health care, your problems would disappear.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Naumann

Please tell the gov to return the 31 million to the federal government as quickly as possible so that the Federal Government can implement it's exchange of private insurance companies so I have choice, I do not want the gov of State of Arizona to stop it's population from being denied coverage for persons with pre-existing conditions, cancellation of insurance for exceeding lifetime limits, coverage for children up to 26 years on parents insurance and the future benefit's that will come between now and 2014, along with extending Medicare solvency for another 8.5 years.
Unbelievable we now join Mississippi and the south, along with defunding education.. Keep it up gov, BLUE is coming in 2014 to Arizona.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Thank You Gov. Brewer

This is the first thing Gov. Brewer's done that makes any sense, even if she did it for political reasons. I have a lot more trust in a national insurance exchange than one managed by AZ politicians. Of course, the correct eventual answer is a single-payer plan in which all American's have access to the kind of medical care, available at comparatively low cost, as in almost every other developed nation on earth. In the meantime, I sure don't want Brewer and Company controlling my health benefits.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: John Malott

I think it's great that Governor Brewer chose to go barricade herself in her room like my teenage daughter when she doesn't get her way. I wouldn't trust our state legislators to run a lemonade stand competently much less anything else.

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Sense the Obama administration is not done writing all the rules we don't know all the requirements. If the state agrees to participate the cost could be higher and we would still have to comply with ACA. It will be a bureaucratic mess either way and all in the name of better health care?

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Opt Out?

Good Grief!

Because of a health condition, I have recently been hanging on by my fingernails trying to deal with my insurance company (one of the top 5 in the nation).

They have raised premiums, raised co-payments, declined prescriptions and refused to pay for one procedure.

I have been forced to visit the emergency room more than once because they don't refuse to treat me and I can make payments to them. Unfortunately, because a 3 hour visit cost more than $9,000, I probably won't get them paid off in my lifetime.

All this from the most expensive health care system in the world with some of the worst outcomes, i.e. infant mortality, live expectancy, etc.

Thank you Brewer.

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