Bricker: Our lawmakers have chosen the fiscally responsible option for Medicaid - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

Bricker: Our lawmakers have chosen the fiscally responsible option for Medicaid

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Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013 5:45 am | Updated: 10:25 pm, Sat Mar 29, 2014.

A number of our East Valley legislators took a positive stand during the recent legislative session to support the governor’s Medicaid Restoration Plan. This will help tens of thousands of working Arizonans gain affordable health care insurance and help stabilize the health care sector in this state.

Sadly, a fringe group of opponents are trying to collect signatures to put this proposal on the general election ballot in 2014. There are significant problems with the way the referendum is drafted, and case law indicates that the measure they are proposing to refer is unconstitutional.

The voters of Arizona have twice voted to provide coverage for adults without children, and numerous surveys have shown that the voters of Arizona support restoring the Medicaid cuts that were made during the Great Recession.

I believe that if this fringe group were somehow able to gather enough signatures and survive the legal challenges that will confront them, they would lose handily at the ballot box.

Our policy makers have chosen the fiscally responsible option. Had they done nothing, the courts would have required us to restore coverage at a much greater cost to the state, diverting money away from other funding priorities. The actions by the governor and Legislature protected the taxpayers, will keep our hospitals operating more efficiently, and will help reduce uncompensated care. We should let this legislation stand.

• Tim Bricker is president and CEO of Chandler Regional Medical Center and Mercy Gilbert Medical Center.

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