Thursday, February 24, 2011

Arizona State Senate Committee Abolishes Medicaid / AHCCCS Program

The adherents of Grover Norquist in the Arizona Senate have escalated the war on the poor and the working poor by voting to abolish Arizona's Medicaid program, AHCCCS.  After 1:00 am on Wednesday morning, the Senate's Appropriation Committee voted 8 to 5 to eliminate AHCCCS and divert the monies to the general fund for other programs.

As I have noted before, Governor Brewer would like to kick up to 300 thousand men, women and children out of AHCCCS in order to provide $538 million a year in new corporate welfare.  Now Senator Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) has dropped a dirty bomb on the people of Arizona that will eliminate not only health care coverage for the poor and working poor, but it will also eliminate $7.5 billion in matching federal funding.  That is $7.5 billion that the Arizona can ill afford to lose.

This measure is catastrophic to Arizona.  Rural hospitals will be forced to close.  Remaining hospitals will see their emergency rooms fill up and their finances destroyed as those formally in AHCCCS will be forced to seek the much more costly alternative.  This is not to mention the businesses that will refuse to expand or move to Arizona.  Hell, we will be lucky if businesses chose to remain in Arizona if AHCCCS were eliminated.

As much as people like Senator Biggs would like to claim their elimination of AHCCCS is about saving Arizona money, the reality is that it fits their ideology like a glove.  I truly believe that they only want government for the protection of corporations and those that can afford it.  Contrary to that ideology, I believe government is there to protect all of us, especially those who can't afford it.

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