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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions August 27, 2015

4/2/2013 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: Many back Brewer on Medicaid plan
The Daily Courier

One Republican has called her "Judas," and others in her party are not happy either about her support for Medicaid expansion, a key component of President Obama's healthcare reform.

This past month we told you about how a Maricopa County GOP official went too far in comparing Gov. Jan Brewer's - as he put it "betrayal of the Republican Party" - to Jesus' betrayer.

To review, in January Brewer announced her plan to participate in the Medicaid expansion. "Try as we might, the law was upheld by the United States Supreme Court," she said of her decision. Brewer was the third Republican governor to agree to accept the Medicaid funds, and several others have followed suit. However, her decision has drawn immense criticism from Arizona conservatives. Her "Judas" detractor, who also is a Tea Party member, has been one of Brewer's most outspoken critics. "If you're a Republican, then act like a Republican," he said.

Ironically, however, we are seeing a groundswell of support in Yavapai County. Register the following:

• Tim Barnett, president and CEO of Yavapai Regional Medical Center: "We at the hospital treat people that have no other options..." The plan would cover "the working poor in our communities, people trying to make a living, trying to make a go of it."

• Sheila Polk, county attorney: "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. When people untreated for mental illness end up in jail, "we treat them, we stabilize them, we address the criminal offense, where they still don't qualify for AHCCCS."

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

• Finally, Craig Brown, county supervisor: "I, in no way, shape or form support Obamacare," but he sees that this particular part would be good for Arizona.

That led on Monday to the all-Republican Yavapai County Board of Supervisors' 5-0 approval of a resolution in favor of Brewer's efforts.

It certainly makes sense for Yavapai County and its residents for the above reasons. As for Brewer betraying Republicans, it all depends on your frame of reference and constituents' needs. Things must be very different in Maricopa County.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Article comment by: R J

If there was no Medicaid....... there would be no hospitals.

Posted: Friday, April 05, 2013
Article comment by: Hobbes2 aka Sam Brunstein

TO: We'll worry about it then

Thanks. Wasn't difficult, you made good and reasoned points.

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: Kali Simpson

Sam Brunstein and Steven Ayers are outclassing and outgunning all others on this issue. Gotta love a good spanking! Ayers is a matter of record, just like he points out. Time will indeed tell. No government program is perfect, but that does not excuse us from attempting to improve on such a dire situation as health care in America. One of the true measures of any society is how it cares for ALL of it's citizens. The prior healthcare system is/was broken, and unsustainable.
To Thankful AHCCCS Recipient, thank you for your insightful comments, and best wishes for your health.

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: We'll worry about it then

Sam – Thanks for a thoughtful, reasoned and good-natured response. I wish I had an answer to the last questions you posed.

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: Hobbes2 aka Sam Brunstein

TO: We'll worry about it then.

If the Federal government cuts the Medicaid funds to the states, AZ can do what they have done before and cut them at the state level also. I should have been more explicit.

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are in trouble, but they are not yet the disasters that you make them out to be and, IF ONLY the Republicans and Democrats could work together, they could be fixed.

It is also worth considering how they got in trouble. Because the people that you and I elect chose to steal funds intended for a single specific use, and use them instead for their pet projects.

Love politicians, but we are (at least now) stuck with them. The attempts by the Technocrat Party (long ago) to run the country with scientists and engineers (I'm an engineer) failed miserably. And, of course, when it comes to running things, we cannot overlook the short reign of Jimmy Carter, who was a Nuclear Engineer and a micromanagement catastrophe.

So, what's the answer. How do we keep them honest? How do we prevent them at every level from the Prescott City Council to the Congress of the US from using money for things other than what was intended.

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: Cordes Coyote

Aw, dern! Turns out Jan's a socialist. Sarah and Mitt might have to de-friend her!

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: Tax Money Use

All the "taxpaying citizens" of this country should receive the same benefits in healthcare that our elected officials receive now and when we retire.

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: Thankful AHCCCS Recipient

I receive AHCCCS because I have a chronic, life threatening, disease. The costs of my healthcare will probably always exceed my earnings. My extended family paid for some of my healthcare in the beginning, but they would not be able to cover my healthcare costs over the long haul and they are very grateful that I am covered by Medicaid. I have no doubt that I would die otherwise.

I believe that we need to come around to solving the exploding costs of healthcare or someday almost no one will be able to afford to pay privately. I hate to be ungrateful by pointing out the ineffiencies in the system but there are many. There are too many people being paid that aren't delivering patient care. There is way too much mail. Moreover I am under constant pressure to go to the doctor for annual tests and check-ups that are not needed and are already taken care of with my frequent doctor visits. Additionally I have someone from Bridgeway trying to include me in a asthma trial, even though I do not have asthma, or if I do nobody told me.

Furthermore marketers have ended up with my name and phone number and I receive frequent solicitations encouraging me to recieve various supplies that are covered by Medicaid. Recently one of these marketers even tried to convince me that I needed new diabetes testing equipment no less than three times each year. Some of them even claim that I have won new testing equipment. All I have to do is complete a survey.

I would support more meaningful reforms to reduce costs and improve patient care. It doesn't seem right to me that healthcare goods and services that are paid for by the taxpayers can be sold by solicitors that have nothing to do with patient care. Shouldn't doctors have to order these things directly and justify them?

I hope that our Governor will not only expand Medicaid but take a longer term view.

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: We'll worry about it then

TO: Sam

"...we can worry about it then."

Those words are truly the hallmark of great legislation. They have formed the guiding principle of excellence in government for most of my life. Sadly for us, "then" is not nearly so far in the future as it once was.

TO: Sam, again

"When Social Security was passed and later Medicare, there was a lot of negativity just as now and they were (and are) flawed."

Flawed? You're kidding, right? From the standpoint of fiscal sustainability, those programs are epic disasters. The fact that the checks continue to be issued is little consolation to the people who are currently picking up the massive tab or to future generations who will continue to be burdened with paying long after we're gone. You'll have to forgive those of us who would actually like to take the time to get one of these federal behemoths designed correctly from the very beginning. But, of course, we have a health care "crises" on our hands, requiring immediate, if not completely steady federal intervention. The details will work themselves out. We can worry about them later, right now we have another monolithic, unresponsive, sprawling federal bureaucracy to build, perhaps our greatest ever.

In practice, sustainability is never really an issue anyway. Once a program is firmly rooted, our politicians – the clever ones and even the dim bulbs – know that they can achieve sustainability simply by reaching deeper into the pockets of others.

TO: yep, Sam

"You have your "facts" and I have mine. We shall indeed see who is correct."

Yes, we shall see. Unfortunately, by then it will be too late to undo the damage or even change course appreciably. It will be yet another monumental problem for our grandkids and great-grandkids to deal with. Another messy fiscal time bomb, gift-wrapped for our progeny.

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

Anonymous Detractor: I've long since "taken my own bet," in that I have a public record of writing on this issue going back years on my blog and in my column. And it's all under my real name.

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: Hobbes2 aka Sam Brunstein

TO: There You Go Again.

If the Federal money goes away in a couple of years we can worry about it then. But,in the meantime, a lot of people will have gotten medical care who otherwise would not.

TO: Tom Steele

A "Presidential rule requiring emergency rooms to treat all who come in?" Please let me set you straight.

"The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) is an U.S. Act of Congress passed in 1986. It requires hospitals to provide care to anyone needing emergency health-care treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay."

Agreeing with Steven Ayers:

When Social Security was passed and later Medicare, there was a lot of negativity just as now and they were (and are) flawed. But once upon a time, in the land of OZ, there was a working Congress where the two parties could work together and (oh hated word) "COMPROMISE." As a result, both programs were significantly improved over time.

TO: Oh Please

In my humble opinion, all three of those sources are notoriously Right Wing and are not to be trusted for an objective critique.

There are two books describing "ObamaCare" that I recommend. "Landmark" by the staff of the Liberal Washington Post, and the "ObamaCare Survival Guide" by Nick Tate and published by Humanix Books, a division of Newsmax Media, a Conservative publisher. You can read both sides, and Tate's book, in the main, is surprisingly (to a Left-of-Center Independent) even-handed.

TO: Oh Please "The check's in the mail"

You have your "facts" and I have mine. We shall indeed see who is correct. At least, I think "we" shall, I am 83.

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

Well boys, it looks like you are going to have to fire, recall or vote all these good Republicans out of office and find some new ones that won't jump on the Obamacare bandwagon. You had better get started, there isn't much time left!

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Oh Please

Mr. Ayres: Yeah, the check's in the mail.....
You'll excuse me if I continue to read the facts as they are revealed, and ignore your proposal facts be ignored because they don't happen to support the liberal narrative. My guess, we haven't seen the half of it. I suspect it will be far worse than most critics have imagined.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: @ Steven Ayres

Steven, are you willing to take your own bet? To consider whether you're seeing "what you want to see"? To make a list today and man up in a few years if it doesn't come true?

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

Mr Oh: Speculation is one thing, reality on the ground is another. Get back to us in four or five years, once the system is actually working, and tell us how those projections fit with reality. It's not about lying or truth-telling, it's about whether you're seeing what you expect to see.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Oh Please

Mr. Ayres: Actually, I have read one article after another over the past few weeks that tend to be very critical of Obamacare, both it's design and implementation.
Just a couple, there are plenty:



Let me guess, everyone is lying but you?
We are now hearing the truth, it will cost far more than projected, people will often not be able to keep their existing plans, and our individual premium costs will rise considerably. Taxes on th emiddle class are going up to help fund it. Care will be rationed (although they will avoid using the word). Pretty much everything Obama promised will end up not true (as usual). And that barely scratches the surface, CA wants the Feds to pay for 21,000 Obamacare Navigators (that's in just one state) because no one understands the incredibly poorly structured mess. And then we have the involvement of the IRS....

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen

Craig Brown, county supervisor: "I, in no way, shape or form support Obamacare."

Go ahead Craig, finish your sentence:
"Oh...except for this, cuz it's a good thing."

Typical Republican

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

I'll go one further. I'll challenge detractors of Obamacare to write a list of complaints and watch to see which turn out to be justified as the legislation becomes a system. As we've seen with the Governor, the early heated rhetoric claiming that enrolling more people in the system would bankrupt the state has clearly turned out to be completely false. I expect this will happen again and again. Will the detractors notice?

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Well, we will see. A national health care plan that is still creating rules and a large bureaucracy is the law of the land. The fact there is no provisions to control trial lawyers or unionized health care workers in the ACA tells me it never was about affordable health care. And if a presidential rule requiring emergency rooms to serve all who come in is not changed costs will continue to hurt hospitals. and costs have increased to business and individuals since the ACA has been passed. The effect on Arizona and the working poor remains to be seen. I don't hold out much hope for any of this being a benefit to Arizona's economy.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: There You Go Again

Courier: There you go again. When we become dependent on short term federal largess, we are in for long term problems. When the federal money goes away in a year or two you will have an editorial whining about raising taxes here in Arizona to pay for the 'gap'. Then taxes will raise, the economy will shrink and the governments will say, 'gee, there is not enough money to go around', and raise taxes again. Meanwhile services will decline and more will be out of work. All the while, you will not get the connection. If we learn to live on our own, we will be able to chairatible provide for those truly in need, while growing the economy and providing jobs for the able bodied.

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