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Medicaid plan will bring affordable health care to the uninsured

Our state faces compelling choices for deciding our future.  Resolving the current legislative stalemate over Medicaid will determine whether hundreds of thousands will qualify for health coverage and our state budget can begin to return to an effective level.

Valley Interfaith Project, a nonpartisan, broadbased organization of 40 local congregations, schools, and other organizations, has long advocated for a way to bring affordable health care to those not blessed with health insurance. The state’s sheer numbers of uninsured and vulnerable are a clear affront to human dignity and a drag to our economic prosperity. We strongly support the current proposal to restore Medicaid funding, and we applaud Gov. Jan Brewer and the legislative members who are working to bring this home to Arizonans.

That’s why 800 of our leaders met last week with Governor Brewer, key legislators, CEO Glenn Hamer of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, and others. It was a rare occasion where leaders representing very different interests could stand together and publicly commit to work with one another.  This is democracy at work, where common citizens can speak directly with the state’s most powerful players to reach a common cause.

We look forward to making this expansion possible, and then moving on to how we create a strong middle class for our state through better funding of schools, immigration reform, and work force training.  Our economic recovery is dependent on preparing all Arizonans to contribute in a meaningful way, and our civic sector is critical to building the relationships to make these partnerships work.

It’s time to reclaim the public space where real issues can be debated without fearing retribution, outright hostility, and name calling.

It’s time for constructive, political conversations about the direction of Arizona. That’s the common ground upon which a diverse faith community can stand.

— Rev. Martha Seaman, deacon, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona; Rev. Miguel Gomez Acosta, pastor, First Evangelical Church, Mesa; Rabbi John Linder, senior rabbi, Temple Solel. The authors are members of Valley Interfaith Project’s executive team.


  1. Our economic recovery is dependent on the failure of this new 800 page immigration bill-fiasco

  2. The passage of medicaid expansion will require that state funds used for schools will be reduced. Currently medicaid is 29% of the budget without federal reimbursement. The Feds will only reimburse for 3 years –then what??? they are already talking about reducing the initial reimbursements to smaller percentages because “the federal government can’t afford it”. WE are the federal government. It is our tax money that will pay for the expansion and there is NOT enough of that to cover the $1.4 TRILLION shortfall this fiscal year. Where is the money going to come from?? Maybe it is time to start taxing non-profits since that is a source of revenue that is currently untouched and the people are taxed to death already.

  3. I agree with the authors. The Governor’s Medicaid expansion provides a fiscally sound plan for bringing an additional 1.6 billion Medicaid dollars to Arizona and extending coverage to an estimated 300,000 needy Arizonans. At the same time the bi-partisan Grand Canyon Institute estimates the federal funding will bring an additional 21,000 jobs to our state, mainly in the high paying health care sector. All of this at no net cost to our state.

    Last week our State Senate approved the Governor’s proposal – This week we must urge our Representatives to follow their hearts and do the same. In both human and economic terms, this is clearly the right thing for the people of Arizona!

    John Newport, PhD, DrPH (Doctor of Public Health)
    Former Senior Level Health Services Research and Policy Analyst, UCLA School of Public Health
    Tucson Citizen Columnist “Healing Tucson and Our Nation” http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/healing-tucson.

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