Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Subscriber Services | 928 Media Lab | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Obits | Yellow Pages | TV Listings | Contact Us
The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials October 03, 2015

3/5/2013 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: Medicaid expansion aims to reduce costs
The Daily Courier

Healthcare costs lead the list of mind-boggling expenses Americans cope with today, and the multitude of factors driving costs upward are easy to pinpoint but difficult to control.

One particular costly thread that weaves its way through the picture is paying for medical care for the uninsured - those who end up in the emergency room or in the hospital, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab.

This problem persists, but Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is willing to take a stab at dealing with it in her plan to expand Medicaid to about 300,000 more Arizonans. This segment of the state's population is people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. Brewer's proposal would also restore insurance to more than 100,000 childless adults who lost coverage when the state cut back its healthcare program because of the recession.

Brewer estimates that the rest of us are paying an extra $2,000 per family in a "hidden healthcare tax" to cover providers' uncompensated care.

The chief talking point of Brewer's Medicaid plan is that it would allow the state to leverage $1.6 billion from the federal government in the first year alone, money that would not come out of the state's general fund. Another factor Brewer touts is that her proposal would keep Arizona tax dollars at home by injecting $8 billion into our economy over the next four years, thus creating thousands of jobs across she state. The governor also believes the plan would protect rural and safety-net hospitals because, as she said, "the uninsured get sick just like the rest of us and, when they do, they tend to show up in the emergency rooms."

We must face the fact that we have people in Arizona who genuinely cannot afford healthcare insurance because they have no jobs in an economy that is still recovering.

Nevertheless, Brewer has yet to win over the state Legislature if her proposal is to see the light of day. That won't be easy. She faces tough opposition from her fellow Republicans in the Legislature who vehemently oppose the federal Affordable Care Act, for one, and the part of Brewer's plan that would assess hospitals $250 million a year to pay for the state's share of the costs. Fear is that hospitals will pass this "bed tax" on to insurance companies, and that's a reasonable fear.

To be sure, there's no easy way out of this. It's a matter of which pocket - the state's or the fed's - will pay for uninsured healthcare. But, the truth is, both pockets depend on taxpayers.

Politics aside, the governor and lawmakers must sit down together and work out a plan that is as equitable as possible for everyone.

Indigent healthcare will always be with us, and we have to deal with it.

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   AG: Con artists becoming more aggressive, send driver to 'help' victims get money (1969 views)

•   Out on bond, child porn defendant caught allegedly leaving U.S. (1921 views)

•   Official: At least 7 dead, 20 hurt in Oregon shooting (1452 views)

•   It's FAIR time! Here's what's happening at the Yavapai Fair today (1173 views)

•   Montezuma St. construction schedule eases Prescott traffic issues (1052 views)

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, March 07, 2013
Article comment by: Laughable !

Lena: I want some of what you are smoking, although it won't make what you say true.

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Article comment by: Mexican Mike

I live most of the year near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I can get insurance for me and my wife for next to nothing, less than I spend on wine. I've been in a hospital there too and it's better than the one here. And the bill was probably a tenth the one we got here for almost the same thing. I could have paid the Mexican bill with my credit card but the insurance paid almost all of it. If you want good cheap healthcare head for the border.

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Obamacare will increase medical spending because the number of insureds will go up. The cost of insurance has to go up because Obamacare eliminates preexisting conditions and eliminates the cap on benefits. Hospitals will shift the cost reductions of Medicare to private insurers. America has a healthcare problem unlike any country in the world: We pay several times more money than most wealthy coutries. We are last in every single health/disease category among the 17 wealthiest countries. Dead last. And really fat!

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Article comment by: justa thought

the only thing worse than ObamaCare is the system we have now, baby steps, and someday we will look back and see our current system as barbaric as we now see slavery

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Article comment by: ronald raygun

Oh Jan sure had a change of heart. All that finger waggin and a suein, wasting all those tax dollars. Now she would run over a bus full of kids to be first in line at the feds trough.

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Article comment by: Lena Sanchez

What is not being said is that the Health Care program - aka ObamaCare - will save the U.S. billions of taxpayer dollars a year therefore paying for itself. Before you say Bunk read on! Is there start up costs? Sure as with any program but the start up is still cheaper than what we payout daily in University treated uninsured patients! Talk to any hospital administrator of any University connected hospital to see how many tax payer dollars go out daily! We tax payers are paying millions daily for uninsured health care at these University connected ER's & hospitalizations. They cannot turn away anyone. The savings from two states - California & Texas - University hospitals will pay the cost of the whole program once it is completely implemented. Seventeen years of managing medical offices and clinics I heard those complaints many times over from University Hospital administrators. This health care program will help pay down the debt by billions yearly on top of helping the poor, which God gave us a directive to take care of.

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Article comment by: An American

The government is broke, and they fully intend to shift the cost to the state....

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Article comment by: alady 53

As a Republican, I can say I am ashamed of Gov. Brewer, Andy Tobin, and all who supports AZ compliance in the Medicaid plan. It will NOT decrease cost. It will only shift it from state government to Federal government. People--WE pay both Federal and state taxes. It is not lowering the cost only shifting it. Remember when the Federal government puts its foot in you door, it will manage to own your entire house. Gov. Brewer stop being so gullible and do what is right for Arizona.

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Article comment by: David Kerr

California will have the earliest and most generous expansion of Medicaid. Arizona should wait a year or two to see how it goes. I predict that hospitals and doctors will "cost shift" the costs of this expansion of demand for medical care.

Every medical practice has an accountant, and the CPA will say, "Doc, you will be making $40,000 less next year after taxes and you won't be able to retire in 2018 as planned. Here are several strategies to keep your income. One is to hire a practice management consultant firm for $20,000. The consultant will show how to increase collections by $100,000 to generate the revenue to keep your income the same as today." That $100,000 will come from insurance companies and premium payers, and they will shift the cost onto the economy.

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Federal law requiring emergency rooms to service "all" is crippling the medical profession. Along with trial lawyers and malpractice insurance causing run ups in costs we have a medical mess. If indigents with sore throats or the flu could be referred to county health clinics, such cost would go down. Illegals should be checked for documentation prior or following emergency room service and detained by ICE for deportation. There is no real cause for Obama care for 100% of the population. Medical care need not mean everyone needs a health insurance policy in their pocket. This is just a power grab of the medical industry by government. Governor Brewer may feel trapped by what is going on but I think it is just another federal government trap.

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Article comment by: There You Go Again

Courier: We do not accept ObamaCare and its cousins as the 'new norm'. ObamaCare was passed against Congressional rules and is, in its design, unconstitutional. How you say? Well, Obama, Reed and Pelosi designed the bill to have penalties for non compliance in purchasing healthcare. The Supreme Court winked and said it was a tax, even though government lawyers argued it was a penalty. Thus the whole law should have been thrown out. So, we do not accept the new norm. Yes the indigent will always be with us. We have dealt with this issue in the past, largely through chairatible organizations. Now that government is involved we seem to be discussing how much to raise taxes. Government has never run a successful large domestic program. Why do we think they will now. Prices are driven up, accounts bankrupt and care availability will be driven down. If this is your new norm, you can be first in line.

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE- Rants&Raves

Quick Links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

 •  Submit your milestone notice

 •  Submit your letter to the editor

 •  Submit a news tip or story idea

 •  Place a classified ad online now

 •  Browse the Yellow Pages

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Extras Submit Other Publications Links
Classifieds | Subscriber Services | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Find Prescott Jobs | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Contact Us
© Copyright 2015 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Daily Courier is the information source for Prescott area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Prescott Newspapers Online is a service of Prescott Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, dcourier.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Prescott Newspapers Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved