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Mesa's Worsley: Arizona Medicaid decision a 'no-brainer'

June 14, 2013
Eric Mungenast

For District 25 state Sen. Bob Worsley, the vote to approve Gov. Jan Brewer’s $8.8 billion budget with the Medicaid expansion intact was simply the logical thing to do.

Despite late nights at the capitol into the early-morning hours leading up to it, Worlsey was on hand at Crescent Crown Distributing in Mesa early Friday morning, for the taping of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce monthly television program “Mesa Morning Live.” As the June show’s featured guest, Worsley said his decision to join four other Republican senators and the senate Democrats to approve the budget’s Medicaid component made fiscal sense for the state.

“I thought it was an economic no-brainer to take $10 billion over the next five years from the federal government,” he said.

He said that $10 billion — $1.6 billion of which will come during the next fiscal year — will bring back approximately 300,000 people into the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, or AHCCS, program. That, Worsley said, will take the financial burden off of hospitals that are legally obligated to aid emergency-room patients due to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act Law, which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, as well as taxpayers who are affected by the associated costs.

The process to get the budget approved was filled with in-fighting among Republicans during a very-long stretch, with Worsley and other legislators staying in the Capitol until 4 a.m. on June 13 and 1 a.m. on June 14 to get the budget passed. Brewer signed the budget into law on June 14.

“It was a brutal last couple of days, last couple of weeks,” he said.

Worsley said the process, however, concluded on a congenial note among the legislators and with a budget set for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

“I think we passed a great budget,” he said.

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