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Healthcare 2010

AZ Chamber pushes for overhaul of state-retirement system (access required)

Despite a fairly positive report on the stability of the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) earlier this year, a major business group with no direct involvement in the fund is expressing serious concern.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, none of whose member firms has employees enrolled in a public pension plan, is calling for a major overhaul of ASRS to radically change how benefits are calculated for future retirees.

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First Things First users caught in political, economic hailstorm (access required)

The Legislature's decision to go after First Things First and its $325 million was inevitable, given the magnitude of the state's financial woes. But the agency also made political missteps that made it a target. Now the agency that is dedicated to providing health care services to children is fighting for its existence. In November, voters will be asked whether to continue the programs or dissolve it and redirect its money to the state's coffers.

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A ‘necessary evil’ (access required)

A combination of fear and the state’s dire financial straits has pushed long-battling parties in a Maricopa County lawsuit into a tenuous agreement allowing the state to drastically reduce funding for mental health services and eliminate the office that ensures the lawsuit provisions are met.

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Dodging the dreaded ‘doughnut hole’ (access required)

The federal health care plan narrows the Medicare Part D prescription drug-coverage gap, known as the doughnut hole, by providing a rebate of as much as $250 to insured members who are not eligible for the Low Income Subsidy.

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Federal law requires few changes in state plan (access required)

Pat Klein, assistant director for external affairs for the Arizona State Retirement System, focuses primarily on the immediate effects on retirees when explaining the differences and similarities of the health care plans for state retirees and the federal health care law.

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