House passes Medicaid expansion and bipartisan budget
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Early this morning, during a historic special session, Arizona House Democrats passed Medicaid expansion and a bipartisan budget.
“This was a really good day for the state of Arizona,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), said. “We waited for months for the budget and Medicaid expansion because the Republican legislative leadership held the will of the majority hostage with political games. The game playing stopped when the governor called a special session. That is when those of us willing to rise above partisanship got the opportunity to work together to create common-sense policy that increases funding for schools, fosters job creation and increases access to health care by expanding Medicaid.”
Medicaid expansion has always been a priority for the House Democratic Caucus.
“Medicaid expansion will offer critical health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Arizonans and will have far-reaching economic benefits,” House Minority Whip Bruce Wheeler, D-Tucson (District 10), said. “This will add $8 billion and thousands of jobs to our state’s economy. Also, reducing the number of uninsured people in our state will contribute to the fiscal stability of our health care system. Medicaid will decrease the unsustainable level of uncompensated care hospitals have weathered over the last few years, which cost all of us tax dollars and increased health care premiums.”
In addition to expanding Medicaid, the budget also provides:
· $116 million for schools for rising inflation costs, building renewal grants, school safety and adult education programs
· $31.7 million for higher education for parity and performance funding, the University of Arizona Medical School, rural community colleges and the Navajo Technical College
· $64.4 million for Child Protective Services
· $250,000 to expand the Mental Health First Aid program
· $20.6 million for Arizona State Parks and tourism
“We are confident that the Senate will approve an identical budget and that the governor will sign it into law,” Assistant House Minority Leader Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 27), said. “The House was able to pass this budget, despite the grandstanding and political maneuvering of the people who have been obstructing this debate since January. Common sense finally prevailed.”