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Governor Jan Brewer Rallies Health Care Professionals Supporting Medicaid Restoration

March 5, 2013

PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer today was joined at the Arizona State Capitol by approximately 200 doctors, family physicians, nurses and other health care professionals who’ve endorsed the Governor’s Medicaid Restoration Plan. These health professionals, coming from across Arizona, know how important this issue is to Arizona families.

“Our health care system is in crisis due to the rising number of our fellow Arizonans who are without health insurance,” said Governor Brewer. “The health professionals standing with me today see the human toll of this crisis every day. Families are damaged, livelihoods threatened and hospitals pushed to the brink. There is also a fiscal impact as the costs of uncompensated care result in a Hidden Health Care Tax of nearly $2,000 for the average Arizona family. Doctors and nurses know my Medicaid Restoration Plan is the conservative, pragmatic approach to providing cost-effective care to Arizonans most in need – while both protecting our hospitals and reducing the strain on our State budget.”

With the Governor’s proposal, the State of Arizona will expand just slightly beyond what voters have already mandated. This will allow  the State to leverage $1.6 billion from the federal government in the first year alone – funding that will bolster rural and safety-net hospitals, provide care to low-income Arizonans and ease the burden of Medicaid spending on the State budget.  In fact, under the Governor’s Medicaid Restoration Plan, there is no cost to the State General Fund.

The Governor’s growing coalition of supporters includes more than 100 health care, business, faith, public policy and other groups have already endorsed her Medicaid Restoration Plan.

“On behalf of Arizona’s committed and passionate pediatric community serving children throughout our state, we support our Governor in her efforts to restore Medicaid in our state, and we urge our lawmakers to swiftly do the same so that we can make smart investments in our health and well-being today that will create a stronger state tomorrow,” said Dr. Delphis Richardson, a Tempe pediatrician and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“AHCCCS is not a ‘red issue’ or a ‘blue issue’ to doctors. It is a patient care, humanitarian issue,” said Dr. Bill Thrift, a Prescott family physician of nearly 30 years. “Restoring AHCCCS is just the right thing to do for Arizonans, for our economy, and for the betterment of people who will not be able to afford those critical services they need.”

“I support the Governor’s initiative not just for the virtually undeniable economic benefits, but – more importantly – for the impact that this will have on the health of our patients and our communities,” said Dr. Thomas McWilliams, President of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association.

“Lack of insurance coverage leads people to use urgent care services that, while they are safe, are not intended to provide long-term health care management of the kind that has been demonstrated to improve health outcomes,” said Denise Link, a Nurse Practitioner of 33 years and the Director of a Nurse Practitioner-managed health clinic in central Phoenix. “They are receiving less effective health care than those that are insured, and both the patients and society ultimately pay the price.”

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