STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema released the following statement in response to Republicans’ anti-health reform speak:
“Today Gov. Jan Brewer and Republicans continued to show they are more than willing to push Arizona further down the wrong track. On the same day Brewer boasted about signing a budget that kicks 400,000 kids, seniors and adults off of health care and eliminates 42,000 health-care jobs, she and her colleagues in the Party of No continued to oppose putting American families and small business owners in control of their own health care. There’s no telling what they will do to support big corporations and insurance companies.
“The President’s proposal:
* Makes insurance more affordable by providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today. This helps more than 32 million Americans afford health care who do not get it today – and makes coverage more affordable for many more.
*Sets up a new competitive health insurance market giving tens of millions of Americans the exact same insurance choices that members of Congress will have.
*Brings greater accountability to health care by laying out common-sense rules of the road to keep premiums down and prevent insurance industry abuses and denial of care.
*Will end discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions.
* Brings down the national deficit by $130 billion in the first 10 years and $1.2 trillion in the next 10 years by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse.
*Fills the “donut hole” entirely. The Medicare drug benefit provides vital help to seniors who take prescription drugs, but under current law, it leaves many beneficiaries without assistance when they need it most. Medicare stops paying for prescriptions after the plan and beneficiary have spent $2,830 on prescription drugs, and only starts paying again after out-of-pocket spending hits $4,550. This “donut hole” leaves seniors paying the full cost of expensive medicines, causing many to skip doses or not fill prescriptions at all – harming their health and raising other types of health costs.
“The President’s proposal also recognizes the early investment that some states have made in helping the uninsured by expanding Medicaid to adults with income below 100 percent of poverty by increasing those states’ matching rate on certain health care services by 8 percentage points beginning in 2014. Arizona was one of those states, thanks to the will of the voters when they passed Prop 204 back in 2000.
Unfortunately, Gov. Brewer and Republicans unlawfully reversed the will of the voters today. As a result, Arizona will lose $2.5 billion in enhanced matching funds for AHCCCS and $130 million in enhanced matching funds for Kids Care. While we’ll still be required to cover these populations in the future, thanks to their penny-wise and pound-foolish actions, we’ll now have to pay more out of our general fund.
“It is amazing that the same week Republicans and Gov. Brewer decide to lead our state down the wrong track and say how “tough” it was take away health care from 400,000 Arizonans, they reject a plan that would bring health care back to middle-class families.
“Republicans, who have been in the majority for more than 40 years, have failed to lead. It’s time for a change.”