LESKO LEGISLATIVE UPDATE September, 2010

“ObamaCare” will cost our State General Fund $11.6 Billion from 2011-2020 according to AHCCCS, our State’s Medicaid agency that provides healthcare to the poor. This is money the state simply does not have. If the Feds force AZ to cover this extra cost, we will have no option but to dramatically cut other vital services or dramatically raise taxes, both of which I oppose.

It is because of this and ObamaCare’s mandates that take away our freedoms, that I co-sponsored legislation that allowed our state to sue the federal government, joined the Goldwater Institute in a separate lawsuit against the Feds, and co-sponsored legislation to place Proposition 106 “The Arizona Health Care Freedom Act” on the November ballot.

In 2000, voters approved Proposition 204, which increased the number of people that could qualify for AHCCCS from 33% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 100%, making AZ one of the most generous Medicaid eligibility states. Most other states remained at 33%.  The voters were told that the extra cost would be covered by tobacco settlement money.  This is not the case and state taxpayer money has had to kick in the majority of the extra cost which will total $1 Billion in Fiscal Year 2012 alone.

20% of Arizona’s population is now on AHCCCS.   In an effort to address our budget shortfall, the Governor and Legislature voted to roll back the eligibility of childless adults covered by Proposition 204 to a level that could be solely supported by the tobacco settlement money. This would have saved the state $1 Billion/year.  ObamaCare stopped that.

With the signing of ObamaCare, Arizona has been told it can NOT lower its coverage and to make matters worse, AZ is being penalized for having higher coverage to begin with. According to the Feds, they will cover the extra cost to expand from the 33% of federal poverty rate coverage that most other states provide, to the 133% now required under ObamaCare.  But since Arizona already was covering people at 100%, federal money will only cover the difference from 100-133% in our state.

I can’t over-emphasize how devastating “ObamaCare” is to our state and nation.  Not only is it taking away individual freedoms and robbing $500 Billion from Medicare, but it now will cost our state $11.6 Billion that we simply do not have.

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