The fight to expand Medicaid in Arizona continues as Gov. Brewer pushes the Legislature to pursue legislation to expand coverage to include folks up to 133 percent of poverty guidelines.
Proponents of Medicaid expansion argue that Arizona voters twice supported such measures for its neediest citizens. While true, prior support is not justification or proof of current support or need to expand. Previous voter-approved expansions did not come on the tail end of a major recession.
Proponents argue that the “will of the voters” would not be met unless we move forward with Medicaid expansion.
However, they fail to identify which “will” they refer to. Do they refer to the “will” of nearly 15 years ago when voters last approved Medicaid expansion? Or maybe they refer to the Prop 106 vote from 2010 when Arizona voters rejected Obamacare? That’s right, Arizona voters have more recently voted AGAINST implementation of expanded health care coverage under Obamacare.
The governor’s argument for expansion revolves around the federal government assuming most of the cost. Since when do we trust the feds to successfully fund this (let alone any) program? The last time Arizona expanded Medicaid coverage was in 2000. The estimated cost was $315 million. The actual cost was $1.2 billion. The cost of expansion was funded mostly by a tobacco company lawsuit settlement with the government, but that fund dried up quickly and left Arizona to foot the bill itself.
Let’s avoid another fiscal nightmare and say no to Medicaid expansion.