Thursday, February 24, 2011
Brewer is right on rolling back AHCCCS - East Valley Tribune: Columnists
Gov. Jan Brewer is no stranger to lawsuits. It looks as is she may be facing another one. This time it won’t be from the federal government, but rather from Democratic state lawmakers who are up in arms over her attempt to drop the extended coverage to approximately 250,000 Arizonans who have been riding the health care gravy train, better known as AHCCCS.
Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) is Arizona’s “Cadillac” health care program that has been providing free health care to low income Arizonans for years. AHCCCS, a Medicaid entitlement program, was extended a decade ago to cover over a quarter of a million state residents and this extension needs to be put out of our misery. The state of Arizona can’t afford it and the rest of us who pay for our own health care have had enough.
First, it comes down to economics. As a state, we are facing our fourth straight year of budget deficits. State lawmakers face an estimated $763 million shortfall this year and $1.15 billion on 2012. These deficits are unsustainable, and if we don’t make some tough decisions, will drive this state into financial ruin.
Opponents will criticize Gov. Brewer and other Republicans for being heartless and not caring for the poor. Quite the contrary. Arizona is one of six states that provides this most generous health care handout. It doesn’t come down to whether we want to continue this free health care extension. It comes down the fact that we can’t afford it.
By Michael Weinstein, guest commentary on East Valley Tribune