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We don't hear much about compassion these days in Arizona.

October 2, 2012
Tri Valley Central
Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch

We don’t hear much about compassion these days in Arizona. To walk a mile in another person’s shoes appears to be a foreign concept to those who control our state Legislature. The Golden Rule, which encourages us to treat others as we would want them to treat us under the same circumstances, has been boxed up and pushed to the back of a high shelf somewhere in the deep recesses of our state Capitol.

This harshness, in part, accounts for the unfortunate fact that Arizona has one of the highest rates of uncompensated health care and uninsured residents in the United States, costing an estimated $1,700 every year to a family’s health insurance premium, on average. These are basic facts that certainly don’t work to attract and retain small businesses (and jobs).

The Arizona Legislature must now decide whether or not to expand Medicaid to include families at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. To support this, the federal government will pay the great majority of each state’s cost: Arizona stands to net more than $6 billion for expansion of our Medicaid program (AHCCCS) over the next four years.

The oft-repeated idea that this federal spending contributes to the deficit, aiding China at the expense of our own country, is political fear-mongering at its worst and is just plain wrong to boot.

The simple fact is that Medicaid saves us money and helps our economy grow. For every dollar Arizona spends on Medicaid expansion we get five dollars back, a remarkable return on investment for our state. Add on the fact that this investment will act as a shot-in-the-arm for our state economy by creating an estimated 25,000 jobs, and accepting the federal funding becomes the ultimate no-brainer.

Jo Holt, Chair

Legislative District 11

Democratic Committee

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