As CEO of St. Luke’s Medical Center, I applaud Gov. Jan Brewer for her plan to restore Medicaid to its previous funding levels. Restoring Medicaid funding is smart, cost-effective, and will have a lasting impact on Arizona’s economy for years to come.

Working in the medical field I see firsthand the problems and costs caused by a large population of uninsured people. Uninsured Arizonans affect everybody — not just the uninsured. When people don’t have access to preventative care they treat the emergency room like a family doctor because they have no other choice, and it costs all of us. The costs of uncompensated care for hospitals are skyrocketing and unsustainable. The Department of Health Services estimates that overall Arizona’s hospitals provide $312 million annually in uncompensated care for which they never receive a single cent in payment. Costs for uncompensated care eventually get passed down to patients with insurance in the form of higher premiums. In fact, the average health insurance premium is $1,770 higher due to the costs of uncompensated care.

We cannot continue with the status quo, which is why accepting federal dollars for restoration makes sense. The current restoration plan would alleviate this financial drain on Arizonans.

I urge you to call your state representative today to urge them to support the governor’s Medicaid restoration plan. It’s the right thing to do for those who need help, and it’s the right thing to do for all Arizonans.

I encourage you to go to www.RestoringArizona.com to learn more.

Ed Myers

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