Health Care Access in Arizona
Grand Canyon University: HCA 255
February 1, 2015
Health Care Access in Arizona
Recently the Untied States top priority has been to provide accessible and affordable health care to every American. Those that lack access to coverage find it much more difficult to seek proper treatment and when they do they maybe left with astronomical medical bills. The CommanWealth Fund found that one-third or thirty three percent of Americans forgo health care because of costs and one-fifth or twenty percent are thus left with medical bills that have problems being able to pay. The federal government, through the Affordable Care Act (2010), has mandated that every person have health coverage in order to insure them proper access to medical care and preventive care. Each state is thus left to decide how they want to remove their own state’s barriers to access and provide coverage. In Arizona, governor Jan Brewer has proposed to expand Medicaid and KidsCare, through some opposition, as a means to improve health care access.
Historically Arizona was one of the last states to implement Medicaid back in 1982, which was seventeen years after then President Lyndon Johnson signed the program into law. Arizona only implemented the program because if they did not they faced the tax dollars that Arizonans pay to the federal government going to other states to fund similar programs. Since then they have made steady progress to insure many individuals. In 2000, Arizona voters passed Proposition 204 to expand Medicaid expansion to residents below a hundred percent of the poverty level and quickly after that Arizona made an agreement with the federal government through a waiver agreement for Arizona to receive federal matching funds to cover the Medicaid population of adults without children, which was a population that did not usually get funding (Roy, A. 2013). During the recession, Medicaid spending rose drastically and Arizona faced a massive budget so they decided to stop reimbursing patients on Medicaid that received an organ transplant in order to save some money. After much criticism the funding was restored for transplant patients. They were also forced to freeze Medicaid eligibility for adults without children, those who were already on the program could stay but no new individuals would be approved for Medicaid. Medicaid went from 227,000 adults without children before the freeze to 86,000, which was a decrease of 141,000 (Roy, A. 2013). The waiver agreement made years ago was set to expire in 2013, so Arizona was faced with the decision to either opt out of the Medicaid expansion that would end coverage to those adults without children or expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would raise the federal poverty level to one hundred and thirty-three percent. Arizona’s governor went with the choice of expanding the Medicaid program.
Governor Jan Brewer was elected into the Arizona office in 2009 and served until recently, ending her term in January 2015. Brewer is a conservative Republican, who was among other Republicans that sued unsuccessfully to overthrow the health law by declaring it was unconstitutional and also was one that did not want to set up the health insurance exchange in Arizona (Cheney, K. 2013). She changed her stance in regards to the ACA and became determined to embrace it and the expansion of Medicaid that the ACA would allow by vetoing any legislation that reaches her until the Republican legislation gives in (Cheney, K. 2013). She justified her decision saying, “by slightly expanding eligibility for Arizona’s Medicaid program, Arizona will receive $7.9 billion in federal funds over four years… This money will not only insure hundreds of thousands of low-income Arizonans, it will be an economic boon and help maintain the viability of rural safety-net hospitals feeling the pinch from growing costs of uncompensated care” (Roy, A....
References: Cheney, K. (2013). Politico. Arizona’s Jan Brewer becomes unlikely ally of Obamacare. Retrieved from http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/arizona-jan-brewer-medicaid-obamacare-92304.html
Roy, A. (2013). Forbes. How a GOP govenrnor walked Arizona into Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion trap. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/01/19/how-jan-brewer-walked-arizona-into-obamacares-medicaid-expansion-trap/
Schoen, C., Osborn, R., Squires, D., Doty, M., Pierson, R., and Applebaum, S. (2010). The CommonWealth Fund. How health insurance design affects access to care and costs, by income, in elven countries. Retrieved from http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/in-the-literature/2010/nov/how-health-insurance-design-access-care-costs
Whiteman, M (2014). Arizona Capital Times. As national debate looms, Arizona’s KidsCare freeze put in spotlight. Retrieved from http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2014/05/13/as-national-debate-looms-arizonas-kidscare-freeze-puts-it-in-spotlight/
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