The battle over the Arizona expansion of Obamacare resembles the fight between David and Goliath. The pro-expansion team has millions of dollars, powerful lobbyists, support from all Democratic legislators, most if not all of the media and a few Republicans who have defected to their cause.
You’ve probably heard radio ads, watched commercials on ESPN or received a full page glossy mailer promoting their “conservative plan.” The only problem is that conservative legislators do not support it.
Here are a few reasons why.
We don’t fall for optical illusions. When the pro-expansion team bused in 300 people to their last rally, we knew that their support was a charade. When they say 63,000 people will lose coverage, we knew that it was not true. Those currently on Medicaid will still have coverage with or without the expansion. Even if it was true, they could get insurance from exchanges with any minimum wage job. We know that it is money and not compassion that is driving this train. A train that Harry Reid (U.S. Senate majority leader) said will wreck without the appropriation of more federal funds.
We stick to the facts and know that the budget put forth by Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs will not drain the rainy day fund or kick people off Medicaid. It does, however, include a request to renew our federal waiver. The pro-expansion team has said the waiver has been denied when, in reality, it has not. Cutting and pasting a web FAQ directed to 50 states is not the same as formally submitting your plan and receiving a denial letter. Ironically, this is the same argument the Democrats made when we last requested a waiver. They said we couldn’t get it, but we did. Will they deny that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled you can’t coerce people into expansion?
Another fact is that expansion doesn’t deal with health care of poor children. We are talking about a select group of adults of whom many have incomes above the poverty level. We are not talking about disabled people who cannot work. They have and will continue to have Medicaid coverage.
We have learned from history that we can afford to wait a year with or without the waiver as Arizona was the last state to implement Medicaid. We waited about 20 years and now it consumes one of every four dollars we spend. Obamacare is going to implode, which even the pro-expansion team admits. When it does, the expansion will go with it. It would be foolish to add onto something that is unraveling prior to implementation.
We know the numbers don’t add up. Conservatives don’t raise taxes on hospitals as a gimmick to draw down federal funds and they don’t put hundreds of thousands of people on a welfare program that will cost billions. Billions will be added to the national debt of which some will be used to fund abortions. Fortunately, half of the states have now refused the expansion. They took advantage of this rare opportunity to cut federal spending.
We believe in the American dream, which depends on every able bodied American to contribute and work. As mentioned before, a minimum wage job qualifies a person for health care exchange coverage. This will increase wealth and allow further contributions to society. Ours is a society that has been the most prosperous in the world because it promises that people can keep what they earn. Nations that guarantee benefits others have earned fail. Conservatives understand that and know that expansion is nothing more than massive growth of the welfare state and a direct threat to our long-term economic health.
— Warren Petersen of Gilbert is a state representative from Legislative District 12.